Feb 19

Technology Course Offerings

Need points?  We’ve got you covered!  View the flyer for course offerings that are available through the Technology Department.

Technology Course Offerings

Feb 16

Parent Perception Survey Available Feb. 19 – Mar. 16

  • As part of the school division’s assessment of each school’s educational environment, parents of students are being invited to participate in the 2018 Parent Perception Survey.
  • The survey will be conducted starting Monday, February 19 and will continue to be available through Friday, March 19, 2018.
  • Schools will use the information from the survey to help identify areas for improvement. This survey provides an excellent opportunity for parents to provide feedback about Suffolk Public Schools and to express perceptions about the learning environment at their child’s school.
  • On Monday, February 19, the official survey invitation will be emailed to parents and will include a school-specific web link to take parents directly to an online survey for each child’s school.
  • The survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete.
  • Responses will remain anonymous and be combined with responses of other families at the school.
  • If preferred, parents can pick up a paper copy of the survey at their child’s school.
  • Click here for the 2017 Survey Report presentation made to the Suffolk School Board 8-17-17
  • Contact Bethanne Bradshaw, Public Information Officer, at (757) 925-6752 or by email at bethannebradshaw@spsk12.net for more information.

Feb 16

Discussions to Start on Teen Depression

… Suffolk Public Schools is bolstering its student mental wellness curriculum and building a stronger safety net for Suffolk teens by engaging parents and caring adults in a new, division-wide initiative.

Partnering with The Sarah Michelle Peterson Foundation, Suffolk Public Schools is starting conversations around a video created by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to educate staff, teens and the community about teen depression.  These discussions are the first phase of an initiative the school division is undertaking to enhance support for students’ behavioral and mental well-being.

“More than Sad: Teen Depression” is a video designed to help students recognize the signs of depression in themselves or others, to challenge the stigma surrounding depression, and to learn how to ask for help.  All Suffolk 10th-graders will see the “More than Sad” video, following a companion video and adult discussion shown to high school teachers and support staff, and then to parents and the community.  Adults will learn about warning signs, what to say, and how to guide teens to help.  During the evening presentations, parents will preview what their students will be seeing.


Schedule of Parent & Community Presentations:

  • Wednesday, Feb. 21 — King’s Fork High School at 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 1 – Nansemond River High School at 6:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 14 – Lakeland High School at 6:30 p.m.

NOTE:  This parent/community presentation is an adult discussion covering the information students will receive in their classroom. It is not intended for young audiences as sensitive
is discussed. 


Anyone who works with teens such as coaches, community sports directors, youth pastors, activity directors, and scout leaders is invited and encouraged to attend any of the parent and community discussions.  


“More than Sad: Teen Depression” train


ing is being offered in all three Suffolk high schools beginning with all high school teachers and support staff at King’s Fork High School during the week of Feb. 19, followed by Nansemond River and Lakeland high schools in March.


All high school sophomores will view the video in their Health & PE class.  A trained mental health facilitator along with school guidance counselors will then lead a discussion about depression.


For more information, please contact Cheri Hinshelwood, communications specialist, at (757) 925-6752.


Feb 16

VIDEO: Congratulations to Superintendent’s Star Award Winners

Congratulations to 15 division employees who have been named winners of the Superintendent’s Star Award for First Semester 2017-18.

Watch a video of the recognition reception by clicking here.

A recognition reception was held on Tuesday, February 6 at Creekside Elementary School.  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 69 nominees — were selected as top honorees for the Star Award recognition.

Division-Wide Instructional Staff Award: 
Andre Paquette

Band Teacher at John Yeates Middle School

Division-Wide Support Staff Award:
Donna Purkey
Tutor for English Language Learners at Northern Shores Elementary School

Andre Paquette was nominated by parent Samantha Linneman, who said he “provides the perfect blend of structure, support, and discipline that kids in a music program need while instilling the work ethic required to be successful.”   Paquette was applauded for his willingness to work with individual students beyond school hours as they prepare for district band auditions and school concerts.  His nominator said he “teaches all the subjects rolled into one” … teaching math when student musicians figure out rhythm patterns and count out beats per measure… teaching foreign language by providing translations for musical terms shared by the composer, like “fortissimo” to direct them to play very loud … and teaching history so students will understand the times and setting of specific compositions.  Paquette “gives kids the gift of music,” Linneman explained.  When many band students pick up an instrument for the first time in sixth grade, it’s quite an undertaking for them to decipher visual notations from sheet music to finger movements on an instrument to actually creating pleasantly audible sounds.  Linnemann said resource teachers whose subjects do not focus on SOL scores often don’t get recognized for their contributions to students.  Paquette “has significantly impacted my daughter by encouraging and supporting her development” as a musician, a student, and a young person.

Donna Purkey was nominated by guidance counselor Maria Eiring, who praised Purkey’s leadership and dedication to students at Northern Shores Elementary.   She tutors English Language Learners, and helps Spanish-speaking families make the transition to Suffolk Public Schools.  A military wife and mother of two, Purkey has published a children’s book called Miss You to Pieces: A Deployment Story & Project Idea for Kids.  She is the volunteer adviser for the military’s program “Anchored 4 Life,” which promotes resilience in military connected children and families.  Her own family has managed various deployments.  She has a sixth-grader and a fifth-grader.  On a broader scale, Purkey is a key factor in the success of two after-school programs for Northern Shores students — Girls on the Run and Hero Boys,  Eiring added: “I am blessed to work with her … She is loved and well-received by our staff, students and families.  Donna Purkey is a gem!”

Additional Support Staff Honorees

  • Ella Mae Anderson, a paraprofessional at King’s Fork High School
  • Larry Chapman, a bus driver for John Yeates Middle School
  • Barbara Miskin, a bus driver for Creekside Elementary
  • Stephen Shapiro, a master tradesworker for Suffolk Public Schools


Additional Instructional Staff Honorees

  • Melanie Burnor, a teacher at Northern Shores Elementary
  • Allison Greene, a media specialist at Kilby Shores Elementary
  • Jessica Johnson, a teacher at Kilby Shores Elementary
  • Erik Johnson, a teacher at Creekside Elementary
  • Karen Jones, a guidance counselor at Kilby Shores Elementary
  • Austin Kulp, a teacher at Kilby Shores Elementary
  • Karen Lawson, a teacher at Oakland Elementary
  • Leah Moulton, a teacher at Kilby Shores Elementary
  • Valerie Smith, a teacher at King’s Fork Middle School
Second semester nominations for the Superintendent’s Star Award program are due by March 31.

Link here for details on the award program.

Link here for the NOMINATION FORM.

Feb 16

Creekside Elementary: Runners-Up at the Bee

Congratulations to Creekside Elementary School team, who were the runners-up in the 2018 Grown-Up Spelling Bee, to benefit the Suffolk Education Foundation.  Click on the headline to see how all 13 teams placed and what word tripped them up.
The event will raise more than $10,000 for the SEF’s instructional grants, college scholarships, staff development programs, and more.
Here’s how all the teams did:
Place Team Elimination Word
13th JYMS – BEE Charged dirndl
12th KFMS – BEEspoke Spellers phreatic
11th Superintendent – Super Bees scherzo
10th Suffolk Public Library – Yellow (Book) Jackets buoyancy
9th BayPort Credit Union hemorrhage
8th EFES – CrossWords glockenspiel
7th KSES – Kilbee’s Wordbusters ichthyology
6th LHS – Snap, Crackle & About to Pop bourgeois
5th RRMM Architects – Bill Spellicheck quintessence
4th Suffolk Business Women – Magic Spellers diphtheria
3rd BTWES – Buzzing Through Words pachydermatous
2nd CES – BEE Gr8tr G8rs lackadaisical
1st Suffolk News Herald – Typographical Airers  Winning Word: lackadaisical


Streptococcus … Vicissitude … Lackadaisical …

Most people aren’t going to know what those words mean, but the winning team at the Suffolk Education Foundation’s Grown Up Spelling Bee sure knew how to spell them.

Read more here in this Suffolk News-Herald article.

Additional photos of outstanding teams will be posted here later.

Un-bee-lievable win at the spelling bee

 Streptococcus … Vicissitude … Lackadaisical.

Most people aren’t going to know what those words mean, but the winning team at the Suffolk Education Foundation’s Grown Up Spelling Bee sure knew how to spell them.

As luck would “hive” it, The Typographical Airers, The Suffolk News-Herald’s team and the Queen Bee sponsor, buzzed back to their office with the trophy this year after tying for third in last year’s spelling bee.

The team, Tracy Agnew, Alex Perry and Jen Jaqua, didn’t use a single lifeline they purchased to get through the competition. Agnew did take the team under her wings, and was a big help on their road to victory.

“I didn’t know that Tracy had so much room on her shoulders for us,” reporter Alex Perry said.

“I’m glad the Queen Bee sponsor won fair and square,” Suffolk Education Foundation spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw said after the competition.

Despite having lifelines ready to go, the News-Herald’s team got through every round without having to use them. They may not have used any, but they did get stung by Kilbee’s Wordbusters, the team representing Kilby Shores Elementary School.

Like most normal people, Kilby Shores got stuck on “lugubrious.” The word didn’t faze the Airers as they moved on through to the next round.

The stage was full of fierce competitors clad in creative costumes, and some of them even stuck with the bee theme. BeeCharged, representing John Yeates Middle School, was crowned best costume. The team won with their bee-striped shirts and antennae.

Other costumes included the Wordbusters in white jumpsuits and pencil guns, The Typographical Airers’ Scrabble tiles, alligators and Rice Krispies characters.

Even Superintendent Deran Whitney and his assistant superintendents, Suzanne Rice and LaToya Harrison, came ready to wow the crowd in costume, dressed in capes and superhero T-shirts. The team’s ultimate “bee-mise” was the word “scherzo” — a playful composition in a symphony or sonata.

Buoyancy, hemorrhage and idiosyncrasy stung the competition and caused competitors to take a seat in the crowd.

This was the second year the foundation put on the spelling bee, and the crowd was even bigger this time.

“I thought it went really well. I was pleased with 13 teams and a good mix of school and community support. Everyone had a lot of fun,” Bradshaw said.

With the success of the spelling bee, the Education Foundation will start holding it annually and hopes to have a bigger crowd, Bradshaw said.

Not only did school members and community members have fun in costume, but a board member from the foundation ran around the competition in a bee suit.

“I think the kids liked having the costume,” Bradshaw said. “Costumed characters never reveal themselves, but they were a really good sport to wear that thing.”


Community and corporate teams included:

  • Suffolk News-Herald, the event’s Queen Bee sponsor
  • RRMM Architects
  • BayPort Credit Union,
  • Suffolk Business Women
  • City of Suffolk Library

Schools teams included:

  • Superintendent’s Super Bees
  • Booker T. Washington Elementary
  • Creekside Elementary
  • Elephant’s Fork Elementary
  • Kilby Shores Elementary
  • King’s Fork Middle
  • John Yeates Middle
  • Lakeland High

The 1st Annual Grown-Up Spelling Bee teams raised close to $10,000.




Feb 13

Free Community Workshops from WTCSB …

Teachers, counselors, coaches and others who work with teenagers and young adults might be interested in the free public training opportunities being offered by the Western Tidewater Community Services Board.

Times and Locations for Each Workshop Varies, so please contact Anderson Wright awright@wtcsb.org

Mental Health First Aid: for Youth and Young Adults: MHFA: Youth focuses on teaching individuals who work with youth and young adults about the various mental health challenges and disorders which often develop during adolescence and what can be done to help provide support.

Upcoming MHFA: YOUTH training dates:
Each date is a stand-alone session, with 4 options to take the single workshop … It is not a series.

March 09, 2018     June 08, 2018     September 7, 2018        November 9, 2018


Mental Health First Aid for Adults: MHFA: Adults teaches the public how to recognize symptoms of mental health problems, how to offer and provide initial help, and how to guide
a person toward appropriate treatments and other supportive help.

Upcoming MHFA training dates:
Each date is a stand-alone session, with 10 options to take the single workshop … It is not a series.

February 23, 2018       March 23, 2018       April 27, 2018        May 18, 2018

June 22, 2018            July 27, 2018       August 24, 2018        September 28, 2018

October 26, 2018     November 16, 2018


Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training: ASIST is a 2-day, interactive workshop that provides a practical guide for the average person on how to provide suicide interventions.

Upcoming ASIST training dates – Two-Day Series:

March 15 – 16, 2018       October 18 – 19, 2018

REVIVE:  REVIVE teaches the public how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose emergency with the administration of naloxone (Narcan ®)

Upcoming REVIVE training dates:
Each date is a stand-alone session, with 5 options to take the single workshop … It is not a series.

March 14, 2018     May 09, 2018     July 11, 2018     September 12, 2018     November 07, 2018


Times and Locations for Each Workshop Varies, so please contact Anderson Wright awright@wtcsb.org to register.

Feb 09

Board Weighs 2 Options on School Hour Changes


View the presentation shared at the Feb. 8, 2018 Suffolk School Board meeting, by clicking here.


This is OPTION #2 presented at the Feb. 8th meeting:

Tier Schools Bus Arrival Start of School School Dismissal Buses Depart School
T1 FGM, JFK, JYMS, KFMS, FCMS SECEP 7:00 7:25 2:00 2:15
T2 LHS, KFHS, NRHS 8:00 8:35 3:00 3:15
T3 FBES, NSE,HPE, MBE, KSE, PIO, BTW, EFE, OES, CSE, NPE 9:00 9:25 4:00 4:10

See the schedule change survey results, by clicking here.

December Information (Option #1)

The Suffolk School Board at its Dec. 14, 2017 meeting heard suggestions from the Superintendent about changing the school schedule for the 2018-19 school year.  The board will make a decision in conjunction with its vote on the rezoning plan for 2018-19.

The information below was included in the 12-14-17 presentation to the Board:
Advantages of Proposed Changes to Tiers
  • Current tiers do not allow enough time between high school runs and Elementary A runs
    • (Tiers 2 and 3).
  • New proposal: One (1) hour between tiers which would allow more on-time arrivals.
  • New proposal: Elementary students home earlier in the afternoon.
  • New proposal: High school tier requires fewer drivers; therefore, more drivers will be available for athletic and activity runs.
  • In addition, research shows there are several benefits to later start times for high school students. This includes: increased attendance rates, increased academic performance, decreases in disciplinary action and decreases in student-involved car accidents.  Source:  American Psychological Association
Current Bus Tiers
Tier Schools Bus Arrival Start of School School Dismissal Buses Depart School
T1 FGM, JFK, JYMS, KFMS 7:00 7:25 2:00 2:10
T2 LHS, KFHS, NRHS 8:00 8:25 3:00 3:15
T3 DES, NSE, HPE, MBE, KSE 8:50 9:20 3:35 3:50
T4 PIO, BTW, EFE, OES, CSE, NPE 9:05 9:35 3:50 4:05
Proposed Bus Tiers – OPTION #1


Tier Schools Bus Arrival Start of School School Dismissal Buses Depart School
T1 FGM, JFK, JYMS, KFMS, FCMS SECEP 7:00 7:25 2:00 2:15
T2 FBES, NSE,HPE, MBE, KSE, PIO, BTW, EFE, OES, CSE, NPE 8:00 8:35 3:00 3:15
T3 LHS, KFHS, NRHS 9:00 9:25 4:00 4:10
Advantages of Additional Time for Elementary Schools
  • Increased instructional time
  • Additional planning time during the school day
  • 10 additional minutes provides approximately 36 additional hours of instruction in a school year
  • This allows for about six banked days for inclement weather
  • More half days for teacher planning and record-keeping at the elementary level
Increasing Elementary Instructional Time
Current School Hours Proposed Hours
ELEMENTARY 6 hours 15 Min

(5 hours 35 Min)

6 Hours 25 Min

(5 hours 45 Min)

SECONDARY 6 Hours 35 Min

(6 Hours 5 Min)

6 Hours 35 Min

(6 Hours 5 Min)

Opportunity for Public Input:
The online survey closed Jan. 19. The School Board will weigh the community input as one of many factors in its decision.

Feb 08

Learn More about the Proposed 2018-19 Budget

The Superintendent’s Proposed 2018-2019 Operating Budget was presented to the Suffolk School Board on February 8, 2018.

Click on the headline to open the most.

Learn more at this link: 

Feb 08

Curriculum Writing Application

The Department of Curriculum and Instruction is seeking applicants interested in working on curriculum committees for Kindergarten (all core content), English K-12, and Science – Anatomy and Physiology and Environmental Science.  Applications are due to Keesha Hicks by February 16th. Curriculum writing will begin in March. Contact the content supervisors with any questions.


2018 CurriculumDevelopmentApplication-K-12.docx (1)

Feb 08

Superintendent’s 2-Minute Drill: Feb. 6

Watch the Superintendent’s 2-Minute Drill here


Feb 08

Suffolk Excellence in Education (SEEC) Planning Survey

Please complete this planning survey for the Suffolk Excellence in Education Conference (SEEC).

SEEC Planning Survey

Feb 02

Revised 2017-18 Calendar

Open this news article for a printable PDF of January 2018 to June 2018 calendar, revised because of make-up time.

Click on headline first to get to the calendar.  Click here to open. 


Jan 30

Elementary Summer Employment

Applications for the elementary summer programs are now available. Elementary summer school runs from June 25, 2018 to July 26, 2018. Complete applications are due to Pamela Connor on February 16, 2018.

Jan 29

Congratulations …

Suffolk Public Schools is proud of all of its outstanding teachers — from those just starting their classroom careers to veterans who have impacted a generation of students.  Congratulations to the teachers recently selected by their peers to represent their school in the city-wide recognition program for the 2018 Teacher of the Year and Rookie Teacher of the Year.  City-wide winners will be announced in March, including one veteran teacher selected to represent Suffolk in the regional competition. Regional honorees then continue on to state and national recognition.

School-Level Teachers of the Year

  • Booker T. Washington Elementary – Paige Kluck
  • Creekside Elementary – Leticia Rouse
  • Driver Elementary – Courtney Frarey
  • Elephant’s Fork Elementary – Ashby Stancill
  • Hillpoint Elementary – Jade Jones
  • Kilby Shores Elementary – Leah Moulton
  • Mack Benn, Jr. Elementary – Casey McKenna
  • Nansemond Parkway Elementary – Stacy Sammons
  • Northern Shores Elementary – Adrienne Bullock
  • Oakland Elementary – Lucy Willis
  • Pioneer Elementary – Katelyn Leitner
  • Forest Glen Middle – Leslie Wolfe
  • John F. Kennedy Middle – Tracie Smith-Banks
  • John Yeates Middle – Hope Paquette
  • King’s Fork Middle – William Carter
  • King’s Fork High – Matthew Fike
  • Lakeland High – Brian Rountree
  • Nansemond River High – Kristen Ellis
  • Turlington Woods – George Old
  • College and Career Academy at Pruden – Crystal Taylor

School-Level Rookie Teacher of the Year
* Schools not listed below did not have new teachers this year.

  • Booker T. Washington Elementary – Blake Eure
  • Creekside Elementary – Presley Rona
  • Driver Elementary – Linda Lewis
  • Hillpoint Elementary – Christyna Mencarini
  • Mack Benn, Jr. Elementary – Wayne Rau
  • Nansemond Parkway Elementary – Suzanne Cardwell
  • Northern Shores Elementary – Christopher Stadler
  • Pioneer Elementary – Haley Jones
  • Forest Glen Middle – Olivia Graham
  • John F. Kennedy Middle – Amanda Weisiger
  • John Yeates Middle – Tiffany Antonucci
  • King’s Fork Middle – Christina Bradshaw
  • King’s Fork High – Valencia Sykes
  • Lakeland High – Rebecca Sapp
  • Nansemond River High – Kelsey Sutter
  • College and Career Academy at Pruden – Varnestine Lefevre

Jan 25

Wellness Challenge #2: Start Smart

SPS Staff,
Wellness Challenge #2 registration will end on Friday 02/09/2018.  Check the Wellness Blog (click) and the attachment included for more details.  Will you be one of the first 200 members to register and complete this challenge?
Incentive: SPS Fitness Star T-Shirt  (click here for a sample)
connect.viverae.com (click)              Join the SPS Fitbit Community (click)
Have a great day!
SPS Employee Wellness Team

Jan 16

Now Available Online — SEF Grant Applications for 2018-19

The Suffolk Education Foundation announces that applications are now available for its 2018-19 instructional grant program.  Proposals are due electronically by email no later than Friday, April 20, 2018.

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


Jan 10

Stipend Deadline and Renewal Reminder …

Announcements from the HR Department …

  • Stipend Deadline … The deadline to receive stipends for the second semester is Feb. 15.  Contact Erma Goodman or Beth Simpkins in the Human Resources Department at  925-6758.
  • License Renewal …  Teachers whose licenses expire June 30, 2018 should send renewal paperwork to Erma Goodman or Beth Simpkins in the Human Resources Department.  Call 925-6758 for details.

Jan 02

Ready to Quit Smoking?

The free Quit For Life® Program helps people learn to live without tobacco for all kinds of reasons. 

It can be hard to quit. That’s why the Quit For Life Program offers tobacco users powerful tools and support every step of the way.

The Quit For Life Program includes:

  • Phone coaching. Through a series of scheduled calls, the Quit Coach® team helps tobacco users create a quit plan, identify which prescription or over-the-counter medications might curb cravings and they provide tips and support throughout the quit journey. Program participants can also call the Quit Coach team anytime they need extra support.
  • Patches or Gum. The urge to smoke is powerful, but quit aids can help. Many Quit For Life participants qualify to receive nicotine patches or gum as part of the program.
  • Web Coach®.   With great tools and a friendly community of others trying to quit, this members-only website offers support 24/7.
  • Text2QuitSM.   Personal quit reminders are sent right to members’ mobile phones.


Enrolling is quick and easy.


Suffolk Public Schools employees will earn 200 wellness points upon successfully completing the program.

Click here for a printable 2-page flyer with more details.


The Quit For Life Program is brought to you by the American Cancer Society and Optum. The two organizations have 40 years of combined experience in tobacco cessation coaching and have helped more than two million tobacco users. Together we will help millions more make a plan to quit, realizing the Society’s mission to save lives and create a world with more birthdays.  The Quit For Life Program provides information regarding tobacco cessation methods and related well-being support. Any health information provided by you is kept confidential in accordance with the law.

Dec 20

POSTED … Rezoning Preliminary Proposals for 2018-19

Click on this headline to open this post.

Then the link below to the division web page will be available for you to use:


Nov 14

REWIRED: State of the Schools 2017 Video

Suffolk Public Schools is REWIRED!
From setting expectations and adopting innovation to strengthening instruction, we prepare all students to follow their passions and find success.
A focus on integrating technology and project-based learning enhances lessons for every learning style.
Watch the 2017 State of the Schools video, which made its debut at the annual Superintendent’s State of the Schools Breakfast & Learning Fair on Tuesday, Nov. 17.