Effective July 1, 2019, the General Assembly passed legislation that allows school divisions to start the school year up to 14 days before the September Labor Day holiday.
Thank you in advance for your assistance as Suffolk Public Schools works to improve how we serve our students, families, and community. We appreciate your time.
Effective July 1, 2019, the General Assembly passed legislation that allows school divisions to start the school year up to 14 days before the September Labor Day holiday. Previously school divisions were required to apply for a waiver from the Virginia Department of Education which is no longer required under this new law. School divisions must still meet the state’s 180 school day minimum requirement but now have more flexibility regarding school calendars. The purpose of this survey is to learn more about the perceptions our Suffolk stakeholders have regarding this change and when they feel the school year should start.
Please note, all surveys are anonymous and your responses on this survey will be combined with that of other stakeholders. As a results no one will know your identity unless you include personally identifiable information in your open-ended comments.
Once again, thank you for participating in this survey.
The survey will close on August 31, 2019.
* Any change would not impact the current 2019-2020 school year calendar.
Appointments now available for Biometric Screening at the Wellness and Benefits Fair on Thursday, Aug. 22
… KING’S FORK HIGH SCHOOL
… 1:30 – 4:30 PM
… Schedule your appointment here: https://www.wellconnectplus.com/?company=ZJS5LE
- Register under New Users
- Type “00” (Double Zeroes) then your User ID
- If you have a 5-digit Employee ID, type (1) Zero and then type you employee ID.
Call Wellness Corporate Solutions at: 1-877 469 5411 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Seeking Substitute Bus Drivers, Substitute Bus Aides, Substitute Custodians, Substitute Cafeteria Workers, and Substitute Teachers.
… Job Fair for Substitute Staff
… Tuesday, Aug. 13
3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Creekside Elementary School
1000 Bennett’s Creek Park Road
Flyer to Print: Suffolk Public Schools_Job Fair for 8-13-19:
Free training to earn CDL license
School Holidays Off
Incentive plan up to $1,000
High school diploma or equivalent
Age 19 or older
At least 3 years of driving experience
Acceptable driving record
Substitute Bus Driver Pay: $11.20 /hour
No Experience Necessary
Require any combination of education and experience equivalent to 8th grade
Substitute Bus Aide: $7.93 /hour
Substitue Custodian: $9.19 /hourCafeteria Workers:
No Experience Necessary
Require any combination of education and experience equivalent to 8th grade
Substitute Cafeteria Staff Pay: $9.19 /hour
REQUIREMENT: Valid Virginia Food Safety CertificateSubstitute Teachers:
Earn $73.00 to $88.00 a Day
No Experience Necessary
Requires completion of 30 college credit hours
Applications can be completed at the Job Fair.
Online applications available: www.spsk12.net/employment
* Staff will be at the Job Fair to answer any questions.
Suffolk Public Schools is committed to non-discrimination with regard to sex, gender, race, color, national origin, disability, religion, ancestry, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identification or any other characteristic protected by law.
Volleyball Set w/Net
We greatly appreciate the support,
SPS Employee Wellness
Our Mammo Van for August 22nd is now full and we have added an Additional Mobile Mammography Unit date – Register Here Registration is highly suggested to save a space.
**Click on link, scroll down and look for August 20th, click on SPS – King’s Fork Middle School.
Need more details? Go to wellness.spsk12.net
Anthem has a new tool to help SPS employees … On September 1, you’ll meet Sydney, Anthem’s new mobile app that runs on intuition. Sydney is designed to deliver a highly personalized, custom experience that’s based on a member’s plan, health-care needs, and lots more. It’s part of Anthem’s new web and mobile experience powered by AI (artificial intelligence).
The brains behind the benefits
Sydney will replace Anthem Anywhere. Members will use Sydney to manage all of their benefits in one place. The app connects medical, dental, vision, pharmacy, and other plans so they can manage them quickly and easily. They’ll use it to track health goals, find care, understand benefits, manage claims, and get important information for everyone on their plan.
Looking for powerful, new features?
Here’s one. Get answers right away in Sydney’s interactive chat. Employees won’t have to call Member Services each time they have a question.
And that’s just the start
Future enhancements to Sydney and Anthem’s new digital experience will deliver a smarter health care journey that engages each member in a truly personal and intuitive way. You’ll spend more time focused on your health, with less time managing the ins and outs of health care.
Anthem will start promoting the new app to members in late July. Members can download the new app at the app stores starting September 1.
The Suffolk School Board announced administrative changes at a special July 17th meeting:
- Barbara Tidd will become assistant principal at King’s Fork High School.
- Janet Wright, Ed.D. has been named assistant principal at Pioneer Elementary School.
- Tidd has served as assistant principal at both Pioneer Elementary School (2018-19) and Oakland Elementary School (2017-18). She was a teacher in Suffolk Public Schools for three years, in Virginia Beach Public Schools for a year, at Southeastern Cooperative Education Program (SECEP) for a year, and in two Maryland school divisions for three years. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and a master’s from Regent University.
- Wright taught in Norfolk Public Schools for five years, in Virginia Beach Public Schools for three years, and during the 2018-19 school year here at King’s Fork High School. She was a middle school assistant principal in Mecklenberg Public Schools for a year and held the same position in Petersburg Public Schools for four years. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, her master’s from Cambridge College, and her doctorate from Regent University.
The Suffolk School Board announced administrative changes at its July 11th meeting:
- Kristal Taylor was named assistant principal at Elephant’s Fork Elementary School.
- Corey Hamlin will become assistant principal at John Yeates Middle School.
- Verylessie Little will become assistant principal at Creekside Elementary School.
- Candace Myrick will become assistant principal at Mack Benn, Jr. Elementary School.
Taylor returns to Suffolk after two years as assistant principal at Mililani Waena Elementary School in Hawaii. In Suffolk Public Schools, she was assistant principal at Mack Benn, Jr. Elementary School in 2015-16, a teacher at Nansemond Parkway Elementary in 2014-15, a teacher at Mack Benn, Jr. Elementary School from 2005 to 2014, and a teacher at the former Robertson Elementary School in 2004-05. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Norfolk State University, and her master’s from Regent University.
Hamlin was assistant principal at Elephant’s Fork Elementary School, and is moving to John Yeates Middle School to fill a vacancy there.
Little moves from Mack Benn, Jr. Elementary to Creekside Elementary.
Myrick moves from Creekside Elementary to Mack Benn, Jr. Elementary
UPDATE (Aug. 8, 2019)
The Suffolk School Board is working with the Virginia School Boards Association to complete a national search for a new Superintendent.
The Suffolk City School Board will conduct interviews for the position of Superintendent, at an undisclosed location, from August 14, 2019 through August 28, 2019. These interviews will be held in accordance with the Code of Virginia Section 2.2-3712.
The School Board reviewed applications with VSBA staff at a special meeting on August 7, 2019. VSBA shared the following information on the applicants:
25 out-of-state applicants:
27 men; 9 women
The board asked for public input in a survey and a public hearing the last week of June.
Survey Results – Cumulative Report
A breakdown of each type of respondent can be found at https://esb.spsk12.net/ From the calendar icon, select the date June 26, 2019, then open the agenda item “Superintendent Search: Qualifications for a new School Superintendent.”
At a special meeting on June 26, the board established the following qualifications for the next superintendent of Suffolk Public Schools:
- If selected, residency in the school division is required.
- Experience as a principal is required.
- Experience as a central office administrator is preferred.
- Experience as an associate/assistant superintendent is preferred.
- Experience as a superintendent is preferred.
- An earned doctorate is preferred.
Leadership and Management Skills – The successful candidate is a team player who is comfortable with shared decision-making, a visionary, creative thinker, and a decisive leader.
Personal Characteristics – The successful candidate is a good listener, accessible, consistent, caring, and confident.
Board-Superintendent Relations – The successful candidate effectively mediates and accommodates different perspectives, understands difference between policy and administration and acts accordingly, and provides options and recommendations to Board before accepting Board directives.
Staff Relations – The successful candidate creates an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect, maintains open channels of communication to and from staff, supports staff development activities, encourages professional growth, and sets a good example for staff members.
Community Relations – The successful candidate effectively advocates school issues and needs, communicates effectively on both private and public levels, responds to individual concerns in an appropriate manner, and promotes business and community involvement in schools.
School Finance – The successful candidate lobbies for school funding on behalf of the school division, develops and explains the rationale for the budget to the board and local officials, and offers creative funding solutions.
Areas of Expertise – The successful candidate has expertise in curriculum and instruction, school reform (e.g. strategic planning, total quality management, etc.), budget and finance, school improvement, and student achievement.
– July 1 to August 2 — Superintendent application process open
– Wednesday, August 7 — School Board to meet with VSBA, which would go into closed session to discuss specific candidates … 11 a.m. at the College and Career Academy at Pruden.
– August/September — Anticipated first interviews with Superintendent candidates
The Suffolk School Board and Suffolk Public Schools recently recognized the top Partners-in-Education and top volunteers for the 2018-19 school year.
Partner-In-Education organizations work directly with schools to provide financial resources and donations, as well as human resources. This year, throughout the 21 schools and programs/centers, 77 unique organizations served as Partners-In-Education. Many of those serve in more than one school, bringing the total number of partnerships up to 112 this year.
The division ended the 2018-19 school year with more than 2,200 registered volunteers. Since last July, the number of volunteer hours logged in the Volunteer Connect system totals 7,010 hours of donated time. According to the Independent Sector Network, these logged hours are equivalent to a $193,000 financial contribution to Suffolk Public Schools. Volunteers have to self-report their hours, so the division estimates hundreds of additional volunteer hours have not been logged. For the 2019-2020 school year, Suffolk Public Schools will begin to using the free volunteer management module of its Raptor visitor system, which will automatically capture volunteer hours.
- Katie Seibel is a devoted volunteer at Hillpoint Elementary School, who has logged more than 460 volunteer hours this school year. Seibel has counted out positive behavior reward tickets, stuffed envelopes, designed t-shirts for students and staff, prepared fundraiser packets, and shelved and repaired many library books. In addition, she volunteers countless hours during yearly book fairs. “She is a value to our school and we very much appreciate her service,” said principal Catherine Pichon.
- Barbara Howell, who has logged 570 hours this school year, volunteers at Oakland Elementary School. She works mostly in the school library, supporting the reading lessons and celebrating students’ achievements in Accelerated Reader. Ms. Howell read all of the Battle of the Books titles and created questions to help prepare our students before the city-wide competition. She was a Young Writers Award judge and supported our holiday dance and March Madness events. “As thoughtful as she is helpful, she has been known to show up with high-interest books to supplement our collection and meet the needs of our students,” said principal Temesha Dabney.
- Michelle Brooks has logged close to 750 volunteer hours this year at John Yeates Middle School. Not only did she step up to the challenge of re-imagining school’s PTSA program by serving as president, but she also became an integral extension of the front office staff. She has also worked closely with the library media specialist to make literacy and reading a priority in our building. In addition, Ms. Brooks has been instrumental in putting together activities to foster continued connections with JYMS students, families, and communities. “She is a wonderful example of our community investing in our school, through her ideas, actions, and kindness, and we — as a faculty, a school, and as a family — are better for it,” said principal Wendy VanHosen.
- The Mount Suffolk was recognized for the impact its partnership has made this year at Turlington Woods School. Through talks, discussions, and activities, Pastor Karl Wilkins has helped mentor students and offer guidance for their future. Principal Kinsey Bynum said he “spreads his enthusiastic energy to both the students and staff. His naturally calming demeanor disarms our most volatile students and gains their trust and respect. He has helped us maintain a pleasantly positive atmosphere, which is very important for “worth – the – risk” young men.” One example … He organized a basketball game with other Suffolk pastors, and then provided each young man with a pair of new tennis shoes to reinforce positive behavior. “He is a true role model for our students because of his admirable passion toward community service and strong sense of commitment,” Bynum added.
- Walk In It Inc. was nominated by Hillpoint Elementary School, but also provides mentoring at three other Suffolk elementary schools, four middle schools, two high schools, and the alternative program. At Hillpoint, Walk in It Inc. and Dr. Jennelle Riddick have worked throughout the year with the Young Ladies of Distinction — a mentoring program for 4th– and 5th-grade girls. She meets with the students each month to encourage them to work hard at school, and to inspire them to be the best they can be. She has also organized, supported and participated in wonderfully motivating activities with girls, such as the Mother-Daughter Paint Night … the Pink and Black Gala … and the Walk In It Kick-Off Walk in September, where the Hillpoint girls won most spirited. Through a combination of practical life skills and empowering life improvement strategies, Walk in It and its Ladies of Distinction program serves more than 600 girls each month.
Congratulations to Stephanie Whitley, who was appointed as Director of Special Education by the Suffolk School Board at its June meeting.
Congratulations also to Beverly Young, who was appointed as Director of Transportation.
- Young has served as Transportation Zone Supervisor with Suffolk Public Schools since 2015, and previously had been a transportation supervisor and driver in Newport News Public Schools. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Stayer University.
- Whitley is joining us from Norfolk Public Schools, where she has served at the division level in the Special Education department as a Teacher Specialist and a Senior Coordinator. She was a teacher in Suffolk at John Yeates Middle School and Elephant’s Fork Elementary School, and also served here as an educational diagnostician. In addition, she served as director of the Southside Educational Resource Center. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Old Dominion University, and her administrative specialist degree from the University of Virginia.
Wellness and Benefits Fair – New Year, New You!
….. When: Thursday, August 22, 2019
….. Location: King’s Fork High School
….. Time: 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM
- There will be Food, Fun, Activities, Benefits, Screenings, and an opportunity to earn Wellness Points!
Mobile Mammography Unit will be available – Register Here
Registration is highly suggested to save a space.
**Click on link, scroll down and look for August 22nd, click on SPS – King’s Fork High School.
Need more details? Go to wellness.spsk12.net
Congratulations to 15 division employees who have been named winners of the Superintendent’s Star Award for Second Semester 2018-19.
Judges consider initiative, school spirit, creativity, commitment, and attitude to recognize those who are making a real difference in the lives of students. A total of 15 staff members — out of 43 nominees — were selected as top honorees for the Superintendent’s Star Award recognition.
A recognition reception was held Wednesday, June 5, beginning at 6 p.m. at Florence Bowser Elementary School.
Division-Wide Instructional Staff Award: Jennifer Niemi
English Teacher at John Yeates Middle School
Division-Wide Support Staff Award:
Teacher Assistant at Creekside Elementary School
Scroll down to read what their nominators said.
- Additional Instructional Staff Honorees
- Parker Baines – 2nd-Grade Teacher at Kilby Shores Elementary School
- Jill Donovan – 2nd-Grade Inclusion Teacher at Creekside Elementary School
- Makesha Grgurich – 5th-Grade Teacher at Hillpoint Elementary School
- Jade Jones – 5th-Grade Inclusion Teacher at Hillpoint Elementary School
- Jennifer Leighton – English Teacher at Nansemond River High School
- Luanne LaPoint – Academic Coach at Hillpoint Elementary School
- Jennifer Madden – History Teacher at Lakeland High School
- Candace Myrick – Assistant Principal at Creekside Elementary School
- Stephanie Oliphant – Early Childhood Special Education Teacher at Northern Shores Elementary
- Richard Routten – Math Teacher at John Yeates Middle School
- Additional Support Staff Honorees
- David Dickens – Technology Department Technician for SPS
- Jessica Gonzalez – Bookkeeper at Col. Fred Cherry Middle School
- Diana Jones – Teacher Assistant at Creekside Elementary School
Jennifer Niemi, a 7th-grade English teacher at John Yeates Middle School, was nominated by parent Samanta Linneman, who praised the commitment, dedication, and enthusiasm she gives her students, their parents and other teachers in the school.
“She is truly one of a kind and I wish we had so many more teachers that remembered why they wanted to teach in the first place and understand the impact they have on these children’s future. As a person of authority, they have tremendous power and influence that not only shapes who they are today, but the relationships they will have with authority figures as adults. It only takes one good or bad experience with an authority figure to change the course of someone’s life, so it is a tremendous responsibility. Often times teachers have so much work to do, too many students to teach and not enough time and resources. It would be very easy to push aside kids’ inquisitive questions, offers to take on additional responsibility, or be jaded and assume the worst in them. I have absolutely NEVER seen Mrs. Niemi without a smile and an open and encouraging demeanor.
“Mrs. Niemi last year recognized in my daughter a talent she had with writing, well before Jordan even realized how much she enjoyed it. She not only encouraged her, but praised her many times for her talent and often encouraged her to enter various writing contests. We were both surprised when she was recommended for the 8th grade Enriched English due to her proficiency. Jordan has tremendously blossomed in her love of writing that has been encouraged and cultivated by Mrs. Niemi. “
Jan Montgomery, a teacher assistant at Creekside Elementary School, was nominated by colleague Mary Keiser, who shared that “even though Ms. Montgomery is a part time paraprofessional, you wouldn’t know it based on the enormous impact she has on Creekside. She is truly a staff member that goes above and beyond her assigned duties — not only with students but as well with our staff.
“Jan is a bright light at Creekside. Her enthusiasm and positive attitude have a great impact on not students but staff as well! She truly makes a difference at Creekside, and the impact she makes on our students will last a lifetime.
“She starts her morning off on the bus ramp greeting students. She welcomes as many students as she can with a warm smile, hug, or encouraging words to start their day. Mrs. Montgomery always searches for those certain students that need that extra hug or encouragement to begin their day. She is extremely missed by students on Mondays and Tuesdays, when she’s not here.”
Suffolk Public Schools is comprised of more than 2,000 employees whose sole purpose is to educate, feed, transport and administer to more than 14,000 students each school day. To recognize the outstanding work and contributions of our employees in each semester of a school year, Suffolk Public Schools has established the Superintendent’s Star Award. Employees selected as Star Award winners will receive a recognition certificate signed by Superintendent, a $100 check provided by the Suffolk Education Foundation, and a 4-by-3-foot vinyl congratulations banner to be displayed at the winner’s work location. Second semester nominations for the 2018-19 school year are due will be due April 15, 2019.
What’s all the buzz about the 3nd Annual Grown-Up Spelling Bee?
The Grown-Up Spelling Bee was held Saturday, May 18 — presented by the Suffolk Education Foundation to benefit Suffolk Public Schools.
Teams of three adults will work together to spell words and compete for the coveted title of “Best Spellers in Suffolk.”
The ArchiTexts team, representing RRMM Architects, beat last year’s title winners to be crowned the 2019 champions. Typographical Airers, representing Queen Bee sponsor the Suffolk News-Herald, were runners-up.
Each year, the Grown-Up Spelling Bee raises close to $10,000.
Please join us for a floating farewell reception on Tuesday, June 11 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at King’s Fork Middle School.
Dr. Deran R. Whitney, Superintendent of Suffolk Public Schools, announced his retirement at the April 11th meeting of the Suffolk School Board.
Here is the letter he read:
To the Suffolk Community:
It is with mixed emotions that I officially announce my retirement from public education effective September 1, 2019. On this date, it will mark roughly 30 years of serving students, staff, teachers, and parents in various roles. Over the last nine years, as superintendent, I have had the opportunity to be a part of many decisions that have improved the Suffolk community. I am most thankful for the opportunity to develop quality relationships over the years with students, teachers, staff, parents, community leaders and elected officials.
When I began my tenure in 2010 we faced major budget challenges, however with the focus on continuous improvement we prevailed and grew in many areas as a school division: adding the third specialty high school program, community service graduation requirements, a focus on STEM education, a thorough classification and compensation plan, an award winning elementary summer school program, integrating the use of Chromebooks, developing a Teacher Supply Store, effective strategic planning the building of three schools, and improved student performance. Each of these initiatives and accomplishments was possible due to the effective school and community relations we have maintained to truly make Every Child A Star!
This has been a rewarding experience and I appreciate the trust and relationships I have experienced with all school board members. While I do have mixed emotions, I do look forward to my next chapter. Thank you for entrusting me in this role!
With gratitude and appreciation,
Deran R. Whitney, Ed.D.
Suffolk Public Schools
Wednesday, May 8, 2019 is National School Nurse Day!
We honor more than 95,000 school nurses in the United States who make a difference in the lives of children every day!
The theme this year is School Nurses: Advocates for 21st Century Student Health.
Five Ways a School Nurse Benefits the School
Attendance — School nurses improve attendance through health promotion, disease prevention and disease management. Students with a full-time school nurse have about half the student illness- or injury-related early releases from school where no school nurse is present.
Academics – Improved attendance means the healthy student is in the classroom and ready to learn. School Nurses enable better performance, which also contributes to reducing drop-out rates.
Time – School nurses save time for principals, teachers and staff. A school nurse in the building saves principals, teachers, and clerical staff a considerable amount of time that they would have spent addressing health concerns of students. A school nurse in the building saves:
• Principals almost an hour a day
• Teachers almost 20 minutes a day
• Clerical staff over 45 minutes a day
Staff Wellness – School nurses improve the general health of staff. According to school reports, principals, teachers, and clerical staff are VERY satisfied with having school nurses in their schools for several reasons:
• Teachers can focus on teaching
• Office staff spend less time calling parents and sending students home
• Healthy staff means increased attendance and productivity
Accountability – School nurses help schools stay accountable.
• Promoting compliance with federal and state law mitigates lawsuits
• Advocating for adequate staffing aligns with Healthy People 2020 recommendations of the ratio of one school nurse per 750 well students (1:750)
• Preparing for emergencies saves lives and property
• Addressing student mental health links to academic achievement School nurses are instrumental in the identification and referral to community resources for health risks and are often the only health professional who see students on a regular basis.
School nurses are responsible for:
• Significantly decreasing the amount of days missed due to asthma, the leading cause of school absenteeism, accounting for more than 14 million missed days annually
• Managing students with chronic conditions such as diabetes and seizures to allow them to stay in class
• Identifying and treating accidents and injuries
• Counseling students about physical and emotional issues
Healthy Children = Academic Success
— Allen, G. (2003). The impact of elementary school nurses on student attendance. Journal of School Nursing, 10(4), 225- 231.
— Baisch, M.J., Lundeen, S.P., & Murphy, M.K. (2011). Evidence-based research on the value of school nurse in an urban school system. Journal of School Health, 81(2), 74-80. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1746-1561.2010.00563.x/abstract
— Engelke, M., Guttu, M., Warren, M., & Swanson, M. (2008). School nurse case management for children with chronic illness: Health, academic, and quality of life outcomes. The Journal of School Nursing, 24(4), 205-214. — Fauteux, N. (2011). Unlocking the Potential of School Nursing: Keeping Children Healthy, In School, and Ready to Learn. Charting Nursing’s Future, 14, 1-8. Retrieved from http://www.rwjf.org/files/research/cnf14.pdf
— Levy, M., Heffner, B, Stewart, T., & Beeman, G. (2006). The efficacy of asthma case management in an urban school district in reducing school absences and hospitalizations for asthma. Journal of School Health, 76(6), 320-324
— Puskar, K. & Bernardo, L. (2007). Mental health and academic achievement: Role of school nurses. Journal of Specialists in Pediatric Nursing, 12(4), 215-223.
Congratulations to four Suffolk Public Schools employees being honored by the Pilot Club of Suffolk. The organization recognizes several groups and individuals for their contributions to the community.
- Mark Stuffel, a special education teacher at Nansemond River High School, has been named the club’s 2019 Outstanding Teacher of Children with Disabilities.
- Cleotilde Meece, a special education paraprofessional at John F. Kennedy Middle School, was selected as the 2019 Outstanding Teacher Assistant of Children with Disabilities.
- Darlene Parker, who transports special needs children at Hillpoint Elementary School, has been named the 2019 Outstanding Bus Driver of Children with Disabilities.
- Delores Cuffee, a bus aide for students at Elephant’s Fork Elementary School, has been named the 2019 Outstanding Bus Aide of Children with Disabilities.
The Pilot Club will host a reception for these honorees as well as other community leaders being recognized on May 20.