Congratulations to three new administrators appointed by the Suffolk School Board on August 17.
- Sara Williford – Supervisor of Health Services, Division-Wide
- Barbara Tidd – Assistant Principal, Oakland Elementary School
- Shaka Miller – Dean of Students, Elephant’s Fork Elementary School
- Sara Williford has been named the division-wide Supervisor of Health Services. She has been the school nurse at Northern Shores Elementary School since 2008, and previously work as a RN at Sentara Obici Hospital. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Eastern Mennonite University.
- Barbara Tidd has been named Assistant Principal at Oakland Elementary School, filling an administrative spot opened when Andrea Wilkins moved to Northern Shores Elementary. She has been a teacher in SPS since 2014, serving at Driver Elementary, Mack Benn, Jr. Elementary, and John Yeates Middle School. She previously taught in Virginia Beach Public Schools, the Southeastern Cooperative Education Program (SECEP), Charles County Public Schools, and St. Mary’s County Public Schools. She earned her bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and a second master’s degree from Regent University.
- Shaka Miller has been named Dean of Students at Elephant’s Fork Elementary School, a new position. He was been a business education teacher at King’s Fork High School since 2011, and previously worked as a teacher assistant at Mack Benn, Jr. Elementary School. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Morgan State University, and his master’s degree from Liberty University.
Congratulations to our leaders who are taking on new roles for the 2017-2018 school year. We are grateful for your dedication and service. These changes were approved at the July 13 School Board meeting.
New Faces and New Places
• Lori White, assistant principal at John F. Kennedy Middle School, was promoted to principal of Northern Shores Elementary, replacing Tara Moore, who was transferred as principal to Creekside Elementary, which was vacant due to Katrina Rountree’s resignation.
• Andrea Wilkins, Ed.D. dean at Oakland Elementary was promoted to assistant principal at Northern Shores Elementary, replacing Antoine London, who was transferred to John Yeates Middle School.
• Johnetta Vaughan, math specialist was promoted to assistant principal at John F. Kennedy, replacing Lori White who was named principal at Northern Shores Elementary School.
• Candace Myrick, teacher and AVID site Coordinator at John F. Kennedy Middle School, was promoted to assistant principal of Creekside Elementary School, replacing Robert Brennan, who resigned.
• Amy Dail, lead transition teacher at Nansemond River High School, was promoted to assistant principal at King’s Fork High School replacing Kimberly Warholak, who resigned.
• Tim Kubinak, science instructional specialist at Suffolk’s School Administration Office, was promoted to supervisor of science instruction, replacing Dr. Catherine Walsh, who resigned.
• Lori White has been assistant principal in Suffolk Public Schools at John F. Kennedy Middle School since 2012.She also served as SPED data specialist, SPED compliance specialist and special education teacher in Suffolk Public Schools, starting in 2003. She earned her bachelor’s and education specialist degrees from University of Virginia, and master’s degree from Regent University.
• Dr. Wilkins has been dean of students since 2014 serving at both Forest Glen Middle and Oakland Elementary Schools in Suffolk Public Schools. She also served as teacher at Pruden Center for Industry and Technology in Suffolk and at Crestwood Intermediate in Chesapeake Public Schools. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Norfolk State University, master’s degree from Regent University, and doctorate degree from Nova Southeastern University.
• Johnetta Vaughan has been math specialist for Suffolk Public Schools since 2015. She served as assistant principal and math specialist at Churchland Middle and High Schools in Portsmouth Public Schools starting in 2009. She began her career as math teacher in 2001 at Lakeland High School in Suffolk Public Schools. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Elizabeth City State University, master’s degree from Old Dominion University, and another master’s degree from Regent University.
• Candace Myrick has been AVID coordinator since 2015 and business teacher since 2011 at John F. Kennedy Middle School in Suffolk Public Schools. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Norfolk State University, master’s degree from Liberty University, and an additional master’s degree from Hampton University.
• Amy Dail has been lead transition teacher at Nansemond River High School in Suffolk Public Schools since 2016. She served as lead SPED teacher at John Yeates Middle School from 2010-2016. She also taught at SECEP from 2005 – 2010. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Bluefield State College and master’s degree from Liberty University.
• Tim Kubinak was named science instructional specialist in 2017 for Suffolk Public Schools. He taught math for 12 years, serving at both John Yeates and King’s Fork Middle schools. He taught and served as director at the Tidewater Regional Governor’s School for Science and Technology and also taught at Turlington Woods Alternative School in Suffolk. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Auburn University and master’s degree from Hampton University.
Congratulations to Bryan Thrift, who was named the principal at John F. Kennedy Middle School at School Board’s June 8 meeting.
Thrift is currently principal at Riverside Elementary School in Newport News, where he has served for two years. From 2013 to 2015, he served as an assistant principal here at King’s Fork High School. Thrift has also been an assistant principal and a special education teacher in Isle of Wight County Public Schools, and has taught in Northumberland County Public Schools and Hanover County Public Schools. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Christopher Newport University and his master’s degree from the University of Phoenix. He replaces Vivian Covington, who is retiring after 39 years with Suffolk Public Schools.
This year’s Division-Wide Convocation for Staff on Thursday, August 24 will feature keynote speaker Dave Burgess, a New York Times best-selling author of Teach Like a Pirate and co-author of P is for Pirate. Convocation will begin at 9 a.m. in the King’s Fork High School gymnasium, with 2,000 teachers, administrators and support staff attending. The event is a kick-off for the 2017-18 school year — the day that veteran teachers return to work. Participants will be encouraged and motivated by speakers from the School Board, City Council, and Superintendent Dr. Deran R. Whitney.
- NOTE: Schools, offices and departments will be closed on Thursday, August 24 from 8 a.m. to 12 noon for this division-wide professional development event. Parents and others are reminded to call or visit the school that day after 12 noon.
- Convocation is expected to conclude by 11 a.m.
- Burgess is well-known for his outrageously energetic performance style and inspirational, yet practical, message. His consulting company specializes in innovative, creative books and professional development programs designed to transform education and uplift educators to reach their full potential.
- His message to all employees of Suffolk Public Schools will be “Thinking Outside the Box: A Crash Course in Creative Brainstorming.” He will discuss using their brains like Google, creating a GPS system for powerful teaching, and magically creating new ideas through Creative Alchemy. In addition, participants will learn how to overcome obstacles that stifle creativity by using the Wedding Photographer Principle.
- Burgess was a keynote presenter in October 2016 at the Suffolk Excellence in Education Conference, which attracted 320 Suffolk educators as they focused on student engagement with a dash of technology.
Click on the headline to open this post … and find the link that will get you to the ALEX online tool to assist you with understanding your health benefits and to assist you in making a decision so that you will be ready for open enrollment in late September.
>Remember the new plans and rates do not go into effect until January 2018.
>You may be prompted to upgrade your Adobe and it is ok to do so.
ALEX is designed to explain each one of our health benefits, to provide you a side-by-side comparison of the plans, and to give you a best choice of plans based upon the information you enter on how you use the health benefits. We recommend letting him explain each plan offered and then answering his questions several times to see what benefit plans he recommends based upon your different answers. At the end of the questionnaire, he will give you a star by the one he feels is best for you and will show you what your payroll deduction total is for the year, as well as the amount you might spend on deductibles, co-payments, and portions of the billing. Then, he will show you the amount total you may have to pay in case of a catastrophe.
5-18-17 Update: Open the post, then click here for School Board vote information.
Additional questions about the budget can sent using this CONTACT US form.
2- Why are health care costs rising so much that it will eliminate my proposed raise?
The cost of health care such as doctor visits, prescriptions, surgery, inpatient and outpatient surgery have all been rising across the nation in the double digits annually. SPS has held onto our very rich HMO-90/10 and KeyCare-PPO plans for many years and it is just not possible to sustain them without passing along the “real” cost to employees. It is for this reason, the Health Benefits Committee came up with choices for our employees. The cost of the plan does not have to eliminate your raise depending upon which plan you choose and how you utilize the benefit. Please remember that you have a choice to pay nearly the same or less for the HMO-80/20 plan or to choose the High Deductible plan and save money toward the health care bills that the deductible would require. Also, remember that this raise is for the entire year whereas the health care increase is only for 6 months of the year. Please utilize the “Alex” tool (available in May 2017) so that you can make the best decision for your particular needs.
1- What happens if City Council only provides $1 million, instead of the $2-million increase requested by the School Board?
The School Board’s budget priority is employee salaries. Considering the $2 million requested is to go directly to employees’ raises, the percentages of raises will likely be affected. The board may consider other options.
The City Council will hold its budget public hearing on Wednesday, May 3, beginning at 7 p.m., in City Hall located at 442 W. Washington St.
3- Why does my 2015-2016 raise listed on paper not match what I received?
Any employee with questions about pay should call the Payroll Department at 925-6754.
4- Can’t raises for employees at the School Administrative Offices be frozen and those funds be put to use to increase other employees’ salaries?
Asking for one group to have a freeze to provide another group a raise is unfair on many levels and fosters the mistaken idea that one group of employees is more important than ALL employees.
5- School Administrative Offices is top heavy. Can’t positions there be cut to give employees more money?
|Administration, Attendance and Health for surrounding districts.|
|2017-2018 Proposed Budget Information|
|Percentage of Operating Budget|
6- Why should our Superintendent earn as much as Superintendents with more students and staff?
All surrounding districts comparable in size are in BOLD ITALIC.
|City/County||2016 Students||Base Salary||Salary per Student|
|Virginia Beach||67,890||$ 231,400.00||3.41|
|Isle of Wight||5,314||142,500.00||26.82|
|*This uses Suffolks Superintendent’s 2016-2017 Salary, the data on the other|
|Superintendent’s salaries for 2016-2017 has not been made available yet.|
7- Did the School Board Attorney receive a 10% raise at or around the same time the Superintendent received a raise?
No. The School Board Attorney is a contracted employee and his salary is set annually by the School Board. The published budget document each year is approved with a placeholder of the same raise adopted for all staff, awaiting the letter from the School Board setting the Attorney’s salary. In July 2016, his adopted salary in the budget document was $157,524 — a 2.5% increase over 2015-2016 fiscal year. The School Board set his salary at $161,366 that year so he received an additional 2.5% or a total of 5% increase over the actual salary paid to him in Fiscal 2015-2016.
8- How much do School Board members make and why are they paid anything?
Each member is paid a stipend of $10,000 annually. Virginia Code Section 22.1-32 states that any elected school board may pay each of its members an annual salary that is consistent with the salary procedures and no more than the salary limits provided for local governments in Article 1.1 (§ 15.2-1414.1 et seq.) of Chapter 14 of Title 15.2 or as provided by charter. However, any elected school board of a school division comprised of a county having the county manager plan of government, as provided in § 15.2-702.1 may, after a public hearing pursuant to notice in the manner provided in subdivision 8 of § 22.1-79, set the annual salary of its members at no more than $25,000, except that the annual salary of the chairman, vice-chairman, or both, may exceed $ 25,000.
9- Why isn’t there a teacher in every class instead of long-term subs?
There are many reasons that a school division may need a long-term substitute teacher. Teachers are allowed to be absent for Family Medical Leave under (FMLA) and in such cases a long-term sub is procured as SPS is required to hold the teacher’s position. Recruiting new teachers is essential to any school division. Our Human Resources Department goes out every year to regional colleges to recruit new teachers. In addition, with a shortage of quality teacher applicants, it is not uncommon for school divisions to have a long-term substitutes especially for hard-to-fill positions such as Math, English, and Special Education.
10- Why is the School Board just a rubber stamp of what the Superintendent wants?
Actually, the Superintendent is hired by the School Board and works under their direction. In the case of the budget, the School Board tells the Superintendent their priorities annually and he incorporates them into his proposed budget. The Superintendent does make recommendations based on the data and state/federal guidelines regarding compliance. It is the School Board that votes based upon the information. Many times, School Board members ask questions, gather information, and consult their attorney in order to make the best decision possible for the good of all students and staff in the school division. The School Board meeting is the culmination of all the work that goes into gathering, consulting, and learning about issues. The board has Work Sessions as a way for information exchanges and in-depth discussion prior to the formal meeting.
11- Why aren’t left over funds from June 30 used to increase pay the following year?
There are many expenses that we are not able to cover in the budget. It has been 10 years since equipment replacement has been a part of our normal budget. HVAC repairs, replacement of equipment that is over 20 years old, and roofs systems that are out of warranty have not been included in the budget. There is usually some money left at year end but this fluctuates greatly depending upon emergency repairs of aged equipment as described above. Those are one-time expenses. However, payroll expense is a recurring expense and if we do not have budgeted funds guaranteed to cover the cost of contracts, it could result in a reduction of force.
12- Does the School Board give back money every year?
The short answer is yes, a small amount usually less than $30,000. In years where it has been more, a negotiation takes place with the City to re-appropriate it to Capital Improvements or a specific project agreed upon by the City Council and School Board. By law, School Boards are not allowed to keep a fund balance that is unassigned. Assigned fund balances include encumbrances for contracts for goods and services such as textbooks, buses, HVAC summer work, and contracted work that has begun but is not complete by June 30.
13- Did the School Board really give back $600,000 to the City of Suffolk last year?
In late June 2016, the School Board received from Medicaid a letter indicating that they were releasing reserves held for several years. At about this same time, the Virginia Department of Education sent the final numbers for several programs based on participation. Both added together meant that SPS received $661,379 above the Appropriation approved by the City of Suffolk for fiscal 2015-2016. Legally, SPS is not allowed to spend any money that is not appropriated to us. Therefore, since it was too late to get all the approvals, the money was required to be turned over to the City of Suffolk. In late July, SPS received word that the State had not met their revenue projections and the money that was supposed to be given to SPS from the state for our raise in 2016-2017 would probably not materialize. The Superintendent wrote a letter to the City Manager requesting that the $661,379 be re-appropriated to SPS to make up for the shortfall. The City Council approved the ordinance and in February 2017, the School Board approved the decrease in state funding of $616,665 and the increase in city appropriation of $661,379 with the $44,714 difference being budgeted into the materials and supplies line item of the General Education program.
14- Why is the School Board not standing up for teachers and other employees when it comes to raises?
In 2014, the School Board and Superintendent worked with the City of Suffolk to have an outside firm evaluate the pay of ALL Suffolk Public Schools employees. The results of this study were published in February 2015. The School Board and the Superintendent then worked hard to convince the City to fund the more than $3.86 million it would take to fund the first phase of the plan for teachers. State money was prioritized and used to fund support staff phase-ins. Every year for the past six years, salary increases have been the priority of both the School Board and Superintendent. In five of the last six years, there have been raises included in the budget. It is important to point out that SPS is still receiving $3 million LESS money in Fiscal 2017-2018 than we received in Fiscal 2008-2009 from the State. New money from the State and City are not nearly enough to fund appropriate raises. Please see below the magnitude of money it takes to provide even a small raise.
15- What other budget adjustments has the School Board made without Public knowledge?
The School Board adjusts the budget very rarely. All adjustments to budget are reviewed annually by an outside auditor firm which audits all the financial information of the schools and School Administrative Offices. Results of these reports are published annually in the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) that can be found on the City of Suffolk’s website. The School Board has the right to transfer budget from one line to another. In the case of the Superintendent’s salary, a budget transfer was done. Savings from turnover in and restructuring of another executive position was used to fund the increase. This was all done legally and in line with School Board policy.
16- How do I know what Suffolk Public Schools’ is spending their money on?
Each year in the budget document, the first column to each page show the detail by line, object, and program what was actually spent the previous year. In addition, an annual external audit is performed and the results of that audit are published in the City of Suffolk’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report under the Discrete Component Unit section. These external auditors are measuring internal controls to make sure proper authorization is documented before budget is spent, variances in budget versus spending, and compliance with state, federal and local laws and policies. In addition, monthly bills and payroll are a published and are available on the School Board’s agenda by vendor, amount and description.
17- Why are loyal employees at the top of the scale being given the smallest raises? We should be rewarded for our loyalty and service.
All positions within the school division have a salary range, a beginning salary and an ending salary. Once an employee achieves the highest salary paid for a position, it is common practice to supply a Cost of Living (COLA) to that top salary. It is not a matter of value but of market. SPS greatly values ALL of its employees and recognizes that giving step raises every year leaves those at the top of the scale with only a COLA. For this reason, SPS tries to balance years with steps and years with COLA’s.
18- Why isn’t the state raise from the General Assembly enough to cover a raise for Suffolk Public Schools employees?
The state provided funds for a raise of 2% over the two-year biennium budget. The amount in revenue is the prevailing cost (average across the state) of only state Standards of Quality (SOQ) positions (minimum number of mandated positions) to receive a raise no later than February 2017. The revenue provided by the state to SPS is $400,458. The actual cost of a 1% raise for all employees is $1.25 million.
19- Why did Career & Technical Education (CTE) High School get cut so much?
This is not actually a cut. The CTE High School program used to have a budget to help support The Pruden Center. Isle of Wight County Public Schools has decided not to participate in the center so, SPS has evaluated the programs at the Center, renamed it The College and Career Academy at Pruden and will be adding to the programming available in the coming years to meet the needs of our students. The budget was moved to its own page and a detailed budget, much like the other programs, is provided in the budget document to show how the budget will be spent.
20- Why were there so many positions added to the budget?
The change to The College and Career Academy at Pruden accounts 30.6 positions added as those employees become SPS employees as of July 1. The other positions come from changing some part-time positions to full-time, reducing a Dean of Students position, and hiring an Assistant Principal position. Two Physical Therapists were added and the budget transferred from Purchased Services where they were previously outsourced. The special education program added a teacher to meet student needs, and two teacher assistants.
21- Why do benefits make up almost 25% of the budget?
Benefits for public school employees are almost entirely mandated by the state or federal governments. The Federally Insured Contributions Act (FICA) is federally mandated. Retirement employer contributions are set by the General Assembly and next year, will be 17.55% for professional employees (teachers group). Group life insurance is also mandated at 1.32% of salary by the General Assembly. The cost of health care is skyrocketing across the nation and SPS is not immune. SPS is making several changes this year that we believe will make the plans offered more sustainable for the division to offer.
22- There is a line item for Non-departmental. What kind of items would fit under that category?
Non-departmental refers to items that do not fit in a single department or program and need to be allocated over many departments or programs. One example is annual and/or sick leave pay-outs for employees who are leaving or retiring. We do not know which departments/programs will be affected and since we do not have enough money to budget for each one, we budget the approximate amount here and allocate the funds after we make the pay-outs. Unemployment costs are another area where it is not known which departments/programs will be affected and we do not budget each one but wait and allocate at year end. School Specialty purchasing cards for classroom materials that touch every program of instruction are budgeted here. The Community in Schools program that isn’t specifically instructional is also budgeted here. A small equipment replacement on emergency basis for copiers is also placed here as we do not have enough to budget equipment replacement on a rotating basis.
23- Why is so much being spent on Textbooks?
The state mandates a specific amount each year for the purchase of textbooks, workbooks, and consumables used in the classroom with regard to textbooks. This item also covers lost/stolen books, any new adoptions, replacement textbooks, and additional textbooks needed if class sizes for a particular book are higher than expected. If we do not spend this amount plus the amount we are required to match it, then we must refuse the state revenue funding.
24- Explain Alternative Education on page 73 “Share Joint Operations”
The budgeted amount of $70,000 is for the SECEP alternative education program costs due when children are assigned to this SECEP program. SECEP is the Southeastern Cooperative Education Program for certain special needs students.
The end of the school year is a great time to experiment with an instructional technology resource. But there are so many cool techie resources and never enough time to learn them all. Maybe you would like help implementing a resource like Kahoot, Socrative, Poll Everywhere, or Google Classroom. Maybe you’d like to have your students write a “Choose Your Own Adventure” with Google Forms or become a published author using Google Slides to write an eBook. We are looking to work with teachers as they explore new tools in the classroom. We will come work with you as you take the first step. To request support, complete this form:
Click on the headline to get connected … View the 2017 Teachers of the Year video, highlighting the top city-wide winners. Suffolk classrooms are staffed by amazing teachers. Students remember their favorite teachers’ names, even years later because they were taught, encouraged and inspired. Help us celebrate the 2016-17 Suffolk Teachers of the Year. Take a look into the classrooms of Suffolk City-Wide Teacher of the Year Andrae Riddick, a special education math teacher at King’s Fork High School, Elementary School Teacher of the Year Natalie Street who teaches 3rd grade at Creekside Elementary, Middle School Teacher of the Year Emma Neave who teaches 8th grade English at John F. Kennedy, and Rookie Teacher of the Year Sabrina Hayes, who teaches English at John Yeates Middle School. Congratulations!
YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/xR-V9i7bDgs
School-level winners were also celebrated at a banquet on May 2. They include:
|Schools:||Teacher of the Year||Rookie Teacher of the Year|
|BTWES||Jennifer Owens||Kaylie Chadwick|
|CES||Natalie Street||Amanda Giarratano|
|EFES||Brian Van der Linden||Michael Parham|
|HES||Brandy Roberts||Taylor McBride|
|KSES||Austin Kulp||Jodi Gray|
|MBJES||Jeffrey Seneca||Caitlyn Curry|
|NPES||Nicole Shimek||Jamie Guthrie|
|FGMS||Brittini Jones Matthews||N/A|
|JFKMS||Emma Neave||Aneesha Green|
|JYMS||Leslie Bulger||Sabrina Hayes|
|KFMS||Monica Vaughan||Sarah Stewart|
|KFHS||Andrae Riddick||Heather Kneisler|
|LHS||Sarah McDonald||Jaleel Nelson|
|NRHS||Jennifer Davis||Candace Credle|
|TWS||Glenda Jones||Janay Bradford|
Congratulations to Andrae Riddick, a special education teacher at King’s Fork High School, who has been selected as Suffolk Public Schools’ 2017 City-Wide Teacher of the Year.
Congratulations also to Emma Neave of John F. Kennedy Middle School, who was named Middle School Teacher of the Year … Natalie Street of Creekside Elementary School, who was named Elementary School Teacher of the Year … and Sabrina Hayes of John Yeates Middle School, who was selected as Rookie Teacher of the Year.
Now in his fourth year of teaching, Riddick is known for his creativity, charisma, leadership, and teaching style. But it is his connections with students that bring him the most praise from colleagues, and the most personal pride. “I live by the saying that every child is just one caring adult away from being a success story,” Riddick said.
A 2006 graduate of Nansemond River High School, Riddick has worked at King’s Fork High School for six years – first as a special education paraprofessional and now as a classroom teacher. He co-teaches geometry under the inclusion model, where students with special needs are included in a regular math class. Colleagues said a classroom visitor would find it difficult to discern between him and the general education teacher because both work with all the students in the classroom as “true co-teachers.” Riddick explained that he shows students how “geometry is not just a random math class they have to take,” but how geometry concepts are used every day.
Principal Dr. Ronald Leigh said Riddick’s role as the school’s Service Learning Coordinator is “where he has done his best work … where he has brought pride and distinction to our school through the outreach he has provided” to two local elementary schools. Service Learning integrates academic work with community service, allowing students to apply classroom knowledge to real life by getting hands-on experience in the community. This year, Riddick revived the “K9 Konnection” program through the Service Learning class he now teaches. KFHS Bulldogs in this program volunteer weekly at Elephant’s Fork Elementary and Hillpoint Elementary as lunch buddies, classroom helpers, recess monitors, and role models for future Bulldogs.
Assistant Principal Kimberly Warholak said Riddick’s “commitment to success for his students is demonstrated on a daily basis when he uses his planning time to work one-to-one with students who are struggling academically or with students who are dealing with a social situation and need someone to listen and offer sound advice.” Fellow teacher Brendy White added: “He has been an influential part in the successful improvements of many students’ attendance, behavior, and overall attitude. Being a mentor and positive male figure is very important in our school environment, as well as in the community, and he has taken on this challenge with great dignity and honor.”
Riddick earned his bachelor’s degree from North Carolina A&T State University and his master’s degree from Old Dominion University.
Emma Neave, an 8th-grade English teacher at John F. Kennedy Middle School, has been named the 2017 Middle School Teacher of the Year for Suffolk Public Schools. In the classroom for four years, Neave is known for her determination, leadership, and quiet but passionate enthusiasm for teaching.
A colleague said that Neave has a special ability “to take a struggling student and make them shine. When a student leaves her room, they know they have learned and accomplished way more than they thought they ever could.” According to a current student who also had Neave in 7th-grade: “Each and every lesson that takes place in our classroom is dynamic and stimulating … She effectively teaches us everything we need to know and more.”
Principal Vivian Covington said Neave is “the type of person that would never draw attention to herself or to the work she has completed over the years … a testament to her humble countenance.”
In describing her teaching philosophy, Neave said she firmly believes “every individual has the ability to learn, and as educators, it is our responsibility to ensure that each child has the proper scaffolding, support, tools, and encouragement to reach their full potential. Every student is smart in their own way, and it is up to the teacher to draw upon each students’ strengths while helping them improve in areas of weakness.”
She wrote in her application: “No one is in teaching for the monetary or material rewards, which we know are few. Instead, I find my joy in the intrinsic rewards of teaching. Many days are a struggle with multiple forces that threaten to derail my students. I have learned to find my peace in the small victories: a special needs student’s explosive joy at achieving mastery on a benchmark test, being able to write feedback on a student’s writing that shows remarkable growth, or a comment from a colleague that my students were raving about a recent lesson.”
Beyond the classroom, she mentors new teachers and sponsors the Junior Beta Club. Neave earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Sweet Briar College.
Natalie Street, a third-grade teacher at Creekside Elementary, has been named the 2017 Elementary School Teacher of the Year for Suffolk Public Schools. In the classroom for eight years, she is known for her dedication and optimism, and has been called a natural born leader.
A colleague applauded Street’s high standards for all students in her class, while also creating a positive, family atmosphere in her classroom: “She doesn’t allow excuses by students for not meeting or exceeding goals. Her organizational skills, thoroughness, and willingness to collaborate with colleagues makes her the perfect teacher leader.”
In describing her efforts to show that learning can be fun, Street says she’s taught on top of tables, done cartwheels down the hall, spoken in funny accents, “made fun of myself, said I’m sorry a thousand times, and even cried with my students. I’ve told students my hardships and mistakes, while teaching them how to set goals and overcome mistakes. My philosophy of teaching is expressed through using a motivating balance of engagement, strong work ethic, and a sense of belonging.”
A parent said that Street “not only taught my son the third grade curriculum, she taught him that learning was fun, and the harder you work the bigger the reward. She taught him that a great work ethic and mastering the fundamentals will make you a success at anything you do.”
Street has worked hard to rebuild the Suffolk Reading Council, an organization dedicated to the promotion of literacy in schools and the community, and currently serves as its president. The Council has hosted two Saturday mini-conferences for local teachers and sponsored a division-wide book drive to donate books to homeless shelters, day care centers, and doctors’ offices.
Beyond the classroom, Street sponsors the Gator Gardening Club, helping students learn about plants first-hand as they work in the community garden at their school.
Street earned her bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University, and her master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame, Maryland.
Hayes started in January 2016, taking over for a teacher who left. A veteran teacher told her “there is only one first-year of teaching.” Hayes said that advice “served as a constant reminder for me to establish a solid baseline for the following years to come, and to learn as much as I could. I knew that going into the first year of teaching would have a number of daunting barriers and challenges, but going into the middle of the school was difficult. It forced me to adapt and overcome quickly.”
Principal Shawn Green said Hayes is “highly motivated, reliable, and always willing to extend beyond what is expected of her.” Because of her youth, she quickly become a peer leader in instructional technology, helping her colleagues get comfortable with the school’s new “Bring Your Own Device” program. This option allowed students to use mobile technology for learning.
A fellow teacher said Hayes “created a comfortable but structured atmosphere in which students can learn, and a very positive but professional relationship with her students. They feel comfortable coming to her with concerns or problems and she is kind and firm with them as a teacher, not a ‘friend’ which is difficult for many first-year teachers to accomplish.”
According to one of Hayes’ students: “It is painstakingly obvious that she loves teaching, which inspires others to learn because of how passionate she sounds when teaching. She tells us that she could never see herself doing anything else.”
Beyond the classroom, Hayes sponsors the student recycling club and started an after-school writing club. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Old Dominion University.
The selection committee included the three former Teachers of the Year as well as a representative from a local business organization and a representative from the Suffolk Education Foundation.
Click on the headline to find links to additional information about the new health benefit options.
- Frequently Asked Questions about Health Benefit Options
- Healthkeepers 80-20 HMO Plan
- Healthkeepers 90-10 HMO Plan
- KeyCare PPO Plan
- Lumenos High Deductible Health Plan with Health Savings Account
The 2017-18 proposed budget include changes to employee health benefits — starting in January 2018.
Recommendations from the SPS Employee Health Benefits Advisory Committee focused on the goal of maintaining the best quality Health Benefit coverage possible for all employees, which included:
- Developing a philosophy of funding for Health benefits that addresses how sharing plan costs between employer and employee occurs and make it as equitable as possible among staff;
- Deciding on specific plan changes to offer employees choices, based on funding, Affordable Care Act constraints (Types of plans/changes to current plans), and comparability with Regional Health plan offerings.
Click here for the full presentation from the committee, including comparisons to other divisions and implications for the SPS 2017-18 operating budget.
Scoll down for a printable comparison of recommended benefit plan offerings.
22018 Health Benefit Offerings
- Add – HMO plan 80/20 (comparable to Region II)
- Add – High Deductible, low cost plan with Health Savings Account (HSA)
- Grandfather in current HMO 90/10
- Benefit to employees will be no higher than HMO80/20 plan
- Grandfather in current PPO plan
Employee Choices for 2018
NEW High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP):
- Employees can choose to pay LESS as a deduction from their pay BUT must understand that they will have costs out of pocket when/if they need health care for non-preventative care
- Health Savings Account (HSA)
- Offer a 1st year matching savings up to $1,400 to assist employees in saving for high deductible
NEW HMO 80/20:
- Deduction from paycheck is slightly higher than current 90/10 plan
- Out of Pockets are substantially lower than current 90/10 plan
- 80/20 Coverage is comparable to Region II plans offered
CURRENT HMO 90/10:
- Employees currently on the plan have choice to stay but payroll deduction costs are MUCH higher on this rich plan
- Coverage, deductibles, and Out-of-Pocket amounts remain the same as current year
- Employees may choose to go to a less expensive plan and that choice would be irrevocable
CURRENT Key Care PPO:
- Employees currently on the plan have choice to stay but payroll deduction costs are MUCH higher on this rich plan with out of network coverage
- Coverage, deductibles, and out-of–pockets remain the same as current year
- Employees may choose to go to a lower plan but that choice is irrevocable
Take time to thank our teachers, teacher assistants, food service workers, and school nurses. These employees are the focus of national recognition weeks coming up in May.
Suffolk Public Schools celebrates National Teacher Appreciation Week from May 1 to May 5, but has also set aside Wednesday, May 3 as Teacher Assistant Appreciation Day.
Share your appreciation as well to our school nutrition employees who help keep our students and staff healthy and well. School Lunch Hero Day is Friday, May 5.
Nurses also deserve applause. National School Nurse Day is Wednesday, May 10.
National Teacher Appreciation Week is May 1 – May 5
As part of Teacher Appreciation Week, Suffolk Public Schools is supporting the 2017 “Thank a Teacher” campaign, led by the Virginia PTA and the Virginia Lottery. The campaign encourages students, parents and members of the community to send thank-you notes to teachers across the Commonwealth to recognize their hard work and dedication. Last year, more than 30,000 thank-you notes were sent to Virginia’s public school teachers. We hope you will join us and take part in “Thank a Teacher” by recognizing even more teachers this year. Visit www.valottery.com/thankateacher to send an electronic thank-you note to a deserving teacher in your life or check with your individual schools to see what they have planned – many PTAs are hosting thank-you note-writing stations and events!
- Throughout the week, schools will be honoring classroom teachers with a variety of events.
- The division’s Teacher of the Year Banquet is Tuesday, May 2. This invitation-only celebration recognizes each school’s Teacher of the Year, as well as the City-Wide Teachers of the Year (Andrae Riddick of King’s Fork High School), the City-Wide Middle School Teacher of the Year (Emma Neave of John F. Kennedy Middle School), and the City-Wide Elementary School Teacher of the Year (Natalie Street of Creekside Elementary).
- Thursday, May 4 is Teacher Assistant Day: Please take a moment on this day to show the teacher assistants at your school how much they mean to you.
School Lunch Hero Day … The school nutrition staff in Suffolk Public Schools strives to make lunchtime the favorite part of every student’s day. From their friendly greetings in the cafeteria and the love they dish out with every student meal, to how they encourage kids to eat more fruits and vegetables, our school nutrition professionals are truly heroes. On Friday, May 5, students will show their appreciation for their school nutrition staff as part of School Lunch Hero Day. Students will shower their school lunch heroes with thanks, cards, and recognition. School Lunch Hero Day gives schools and communities the opportunity to thank school nutrition professionals. For more information visit www.SchoolLunchHeroDay.com Call Brian Williams, Director of Food & Nutrition Services, at 925-5789 for additional details.
National School Nurse Day celebrated Wednesday, May 10 … We honor our school nurses who make a difference in the lives of children every day! The theme this year is “Healthy Nurse. Healthy Students.” School nurses lead the way to advance health and support education by ensuring that students are safe, healthy, and ready to learn. Learn more at www.schoolnurseday.org Call Dr. Suzanne Rice, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services, at 925-6761 for additional information.
Summer Curriculum Development Committees
Location: King’s Fork Middle School
Rate of Pay: $26.40 per hour
2017 Summer Curriculum Development Application-K-12
- June 20-22, 2017 Middle/High Math
- June 20-22 and June 26-29, 2017Middle/High Science (Earth, Bio, Chem, Ecology and Ocean)
- June 20-22, 2017 Enriched Middle
- June 20-22, 2017 Foreign Language
- June 20-27, 2017 Middle English
- June 20-22, 2017 High English
- June 20-22 and June 26-29, 2017 K-5 English, Math, and Science
- June 20-22, 2017 K-5 Social Studies Middle/High Social Studies
- June 26-29, 2017 Performance Based Assessment Development (Grade 3: Science and Social Studies, Grade 5 US History I, Grade 6 US History II, and Grade 8 World Geography)
Please contact the following regarding any questions or concerns:
- English: Kimberly McGrath, Supervisor of English Instruction
- Math: Melody Mondell, Supervisor of Mathematics Instruction
- Social Studies: Katrina Cary, Supervisor of History/SS Instruction
- Science: Catherine Walsh, Ed.D., Supervisor of Science Instruction
- Enriched: Maria Lawson-Davenport, Ed.D., Advanced Instruction Specialist
- Foreign Language: Kimberly Seavey, Foreign Language Lead Teacher
If you would like to be considered for a transfer for the 2017-18 school year, please note the following procedure:
- An employee seeking a transfer should use the online Applicant Portal to submit applications for vacancies. A request form is no longer used.
- Transfers will not be allowed during a school year. All voluntary transfers will be effective for the 2017-2018 school year
- Transfers will not be honored after July 15.
- The principal at the vacancy school will conduct interviews and make decision on filling the vacancy.
- Only employees with continuing contract status can transfer.
- Transfers within the building are not affected by this procedure.
- The transferred employee must stay in the new location for two years.
Healthy Suffolk has submitted a grant through the national Seeds of Change program, which with enough online votes could provide $10,000 or $20,000 to enrich the gardens at several Suffolk Public Schools.
Public voting continues through Wednesday, April 19. The applications with the most online votes advance to the next stage of approval.
Suffolk Public School Gardens:
HOW WOULD YOU USE THIS GRANT TO HELP YOUR COMMUNITY?
Healthy Suffolk’s mission is to advance wellness and livability in the City of Suffolk and to work towards a community where all citizens are healthy. Our school garden program, begun in 2009, includes active gardens at 6 of our 11 public elementary schools. Knowing that children who learn to garden and grow some of their own food will eat more fruits and vegetables, lead more active lifestyles, and make healthier food choices, we have supported school gardens to advance wellness in our community. Our current school garden partners set their own plans and goals with guidance from the Healthy Suffolk garden coordinator. Lessons cover Nutrition, Exercise, Plant & Insect biology, Math, History, Farming, Pollinators, Food & Fiber, Water Systems, Ecology, Recycling & Composting, Cooking, Art, Weather, and more. Student gardeners will take lessons learned home, which will benefit their families and increase the impact of our programs to advance wellness in our community.
For more information, contact Shelley Butler Barlow, Healthy Suffolk Garden Coordinator, by email at email@example.com
This message was shared with staff and families through School Messenger
at 6 p.m. Friday, March 31. Some phone calls and emails might not have been
completed due to the severe weather.
This is Dr. Deran Whitney, Superintendent of Suffolk Public Schools, with a message for our Suffolk Public Schools staff, and for our parents and families:
We realize today has been challenging. We are grateful for our entire team who pulled together to make learning a priority.
To our dedicated bus drivers who delivered students safely today:
Thank you for putting our students first. We have a team dedicated to developing an action plan to address your concerns. As bus drivers, you are vital to our students’ education. We are committed to finding solutions.
To our parents and families:
We are particularly humbled by the support of our parents and families. We could not have done it without you. We apologize for any inconvenience today’s events may have caused. Thanks for your patience as we work through our transportation challenges. You helped make today a fruitful day in our classrooms.
To all our employees:
Thanks to our teachers, teacher assistants, cafeteria staff, administrators, support staff, and the many volunteers who continue to support our schools. By rising to today’s challenges and being willing to do something different or extra, you reflected the best of Suffolk Public Schools. We are grateful to you.
We are listening very closely to the concerns that have been raised. I am dedicated to finding solutions to improve everyone’s experience — because we are all here for the students.
We are in this together. Thank you again for what you do.
Message from Superintendent Dr. Deran Whitney:
In regards to budget challenges and concerns expressed in recent weeks, we want to take a moment to reiterate our firm support of every teacher and staff member in this division.
Our teachers, administrators, bus drivers and support staff work hard every day to ensure that all children have an opportunity to learn in a safe and supportive environment. In recent weeks, many teachers and staff and have expressed concerns about compensation and health insurance costs.
Please know that we remain committed to fair compensation of all employees and staff and will continue to make every effort to provide competitive salaries. That said, we also realize we have more work to do and will continue to seek opportunities to increase teacher and staff pay.
Teachers have also voiced concerns about workload. We are listening, responding and appreciate that many have taken the time to share concerns. We will be hosting meetings in schools over the next month so that more teachers will have the opportunity to share. We value our stakeholders’ feedback and will be addressing concerns in both our short term and long range planning.
See the next post for details about Teacher Input & Support Sessions
In fact, we have already begun to make some immediate changes based on the feedback we have received thus far. For example:
● Principals will be meeting with teachers to explore opportunities to streamline lesson plans and other required work duties at each school. These modifications will vary from school to school.
● STAR points can now be earned for any professional development activity even if it is during contractual hours.
● We are securing more substitutes and they will be allowed to work beyond the 29 hour limit for the remainder of the school year. This will increase the number of subs available so that teacher assistants and other staff should not have to cover classes.
● We will be extending windows for benchmark assessments as needed so that teachers have additional time to teach the material.
This is just the beginning phase of responding to concerns. We will also be including an area on our staff portal where we can accept ideas for improving morale and responding to budget questions. We are in this together and we are committed to being responsive as we continue to improve our school division
Deran R. Whitney, Ed.D.
See the next post for details about Teacher Input & Support Sessions
Are you willing to share your teacher superpowers at the 2017 Suffolk Excellence in Education Conference (SEEC)?
Mark your calendar for the Suffolk Excellence in Education Conference on Saturday, October 14, 2017. The focus of the event will be student engagement with a dash of technology. If you are interested in presenting a session at SEEC, please complete the form below.
The month of April has been designated by Gov. Terry McAuliffe through proclamation as the Month of the Military Child — a special time to pay tribute to military children for their commitment, patience, courage, and unconditional support of their parents.
Across Virginia, Friday, April 21 will be the day to “Purple Up! for Military Kids Day” Wearing purple on April 21 will show support for our military students and appreciation for their strength and sacrifices. Purple is the color that symbolizes a combination of all branches of the military — Army green, Coast Guard blue, Air Force blue, Marine red, and Navy blue.
Governor’s 2017 Resolution:
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Virginia is proud to be home to more than 73,000 whose parents serve in the military, stationed in Virginia; and
WHEREAS, April is Month of the Military Child, a special month to recognize and pay tribute to military families and their children for the daily sacrifices made, and for their commitment, courage, and unconditional support of our Armed Forces; and
WHEREAS, Virginia has one of the highest numbers of military school-age children in the nation and is committed to being an active participant in the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children which facilitates military children transitioning in school systems across state lines; and
WHEREAS, the children of our service members continue to make significant contributions to schools, communities, the nation, and our Commonwealth, despite prolonged and repeated absences of one or both parents; and
WHEREAS, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), Virginia’s public schools remain committed to the care and education of the children of men and women of our armed forces.
WHEREAS, by partnering with school liaison officers, military leaders, educators, and community organizations, VDOE provides resources about the unique support needed for military service members and their families during all stages of transition and deployment; and
WHEREAS, Month of the Military Child reaffirms our commitment to ensuring excellence in schools, childcare, and youth services to military children who face unique challenges that other children their age never experience;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Terence R. McAuliffe, do hereby recognize April 2017 as MONTH OF THE MILITARY CHILD in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.
April was designated as “The Month of the Military Child” by former Secretary of Defense, Caspar W. Weinberger in 1986 to recognize the contributions of children whose parents serve in the military and celebrate their spirit.
Often military children are looked up to for their resilience and ability to deal with life-changing events, but frequent moves, family separations through deployments and reintegration issues following deployments make life especially challenging for many military children.
Here are some possible “Month of the Military Child” activities:
- Create a “Wall of Honor” which features photos and short stories about service members connected to the school.
- Invite a veterans group to demonstrate flag etiquette and flag folding.
- Establish a Patriotic Day and encourage educators and students to wear patriotic colors.
- Invite service members to speak with classes about what it’s like to be in the military.
- On April 21, participate in Purple Up! by wearing purple in recognition of military kids, families and friends. For more information about the month of the military child, see the Purple Up! flier (PDF).
- Present military youth with a Certificate of Recognition. Service members are often recognized with certificates and medals for their outstanding service, and children will be able to hang their own certificate on the wall along with those of their parents.
Congratulation to Debra Shapiro, a technology education teacher at Forest Glen Middle School, who was recently recognized as an Emerging Leader at the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA) for her outstanding performance, leadership, and accomplishments in the field of technology and engineering education.
ITEEA’s Emerging Leader honor is a coveted mark of distinction in technology and engineering education. It recognizes technology, innovation, design, and engineering educators who have demonstrated a high level of competence and professional activity in the field of technology and engineering education.