Amy Griffin's Blog

February: School Board Appreciation Month

Maker Spaces and littleBits: Students in 6th Grade explore littleBits and electronic building blocks.

February is School Board and Board Clerk Appreciation Month.  I would like to thank our Board members - Ginger Sanderson, Eurika Tyree, Christine Ross, Cindy Morgan, and Lee Dowdy; Dr. Jamerson, clerk; and Dr. Jones, deputy clerk.  Cumberland County is fortunate to have such dedicated individuals who truly put students first in their decision making. From academics to athletics; fine arts to career and technical opportunities; facilities to the resources in the hands of our students and staff-- this Board continues to seek excellence and equity for the children of Cumberland.  The Board has three goals for Cumberland County Public Schools that are the foundation for all decisions:

  • Cumberland County Public Schools will be student centered.
  • Cumberland County Public Schools will expand opportunities for learning.
  • Cumberland County Public Schools will develop committed stakeholders who build positive relationships. Stakeholders are defined as students, faculty and staff, parents, and community members.

These goals are also the foundation of the D21 Strategic Plan (link: adopted in December and the 2016-2017 School Operating Budget process.  Finally, I would like to thank our School Board Student Liaisons Ahkiya Allen and Hannah King for providing "the voices" of our students.


CuCPS Highlights:
  • Hayes Turner, CHS sophomore, was selected to attend the Hugh O’Brien Youth (HOBY) Leadership Workshops at James Madison University in June.
  • The CMS NJHS inducted 37 new students last week.
  • Ms. Whittaker has been awarded an Agriculture in the Classroom grant in the amount of $420.

  • Athletics News:
    • The Athletic Department celebrated Senior Night for the Indoor Track and Boys Basketball Teams. Recognized were:  Chris Giles and Kyle Shuart -- Indoor Track; and Andrew Brown, Devante Copeland, David Diming, Tyveon Goodwin, T.J. Jackson, Daquan Trent, Ahmad Booker, and Jordan Woodson --Basketball.
    • The Cumberland Dukes Wrestling team qualified for the 1A regional tournament being held Friday and Saturday at Northampton H.S.
    • The CHS Wrestling Team competed in the Southside Scuffle in Nottoway. Ricky Kirby finished 1st to become the 113lbs champion; Kavon Foster finished 4th at 182lbs; Trevon Foster finished 4th at 220lbs. The wrestling team finished 8th out of 13 teams from all over VA ranging from 1A-3A and private schools. 
    • CHS hosted the Conference 42 Wrestling Tournament:
      • The Dukes Wrestlers finished 3rd overall. Individual results were: Trevon Foster - Conference 42 Champion 2 195 lbs.; Raheem Rumsey - Conference 42 Runner-up @220 lbs.; Joey Riner - Conference 42 Runner- up @ 126 lbs.; Isaiah Johnson – Conference 42 Runner-up @ 145 lbs.; Ricky Kirby- Conference 42 Runner-up @ 113 lbs.; Khajhan Trent – Conference 42 Runner-up @ 285 lbs.

    • Wednesday was the NCAA National Signing Day for athletes to commit to attend college next fall. Ebony Jones committed to St. Andrews College for track and field and T.J. Jackson committed to Virginia Tech to play football.

Events for the Week:

  • Monday
    • 7:00 February School Board Meeting
  • Tuesday
    • 10:00 Virginia Opera comes to CMS:  The Marian Anderson Story
    • 12:00 Administrative Council Meeting
    • 7:00 Board of Supervisors Meeting
  • Wednesday
    • Interims Home

Remembering Keith White

The community came together last Friday evening to celebrate the life and legacy of Keith White. Although I did not know him well, I would see him coaching our students on the court, the field, and in life. He would even take the time to eat lunch at the middle and high school visiting with the students and staff.  He was very supportive of sharing and preparing the Madison Ball Fields for the upcoming middle school baseball and softball practices and games.  From all the comments on Facebook (check out the posts on the Farmville Herald Facebook page) and at the service, it is apparent that he had caring and lasting relationships with many of our students, parents, staff, and community members.  Keith has left a legacy within the hearts and minds of our children, many grown now, as well as his family and close friends.  I thought the poem included on the service program was fitting:
You taught us determination. You gave us the skills
To persist in life's game; and for that we always will
Give thanks for you, and look back and boast
That we had the privilege
Of calling you, Coach!
The outpouring of condolences, memories, and love are testimonies to the life and legacy of Keith White.  He has truly made an ever-lasting impact on and for the youth of Cumberland County. For that, his CuCPS family is forever grateful.
CuCPS Highlights:
  • Congratulations to Ricky Kirby for being the 113 pound weight class champion at the South Side Shuffle.
  • Congratulations to our Dukes Wrestling Team who finished 3rd in the JRD Tournament:
    • 113lbs Ricky Kirby 1st = District Champion
    • 120lbs Davidrick Brooks 1st = District Champion
    • 126lbs Joseph Riner 4th
    • 132lbs Jackson Pryor 3rd
    • 170lbs Kavon Foster 4th
    • 182lbs Sean Stinnett 4th
    • 195lb Raheem Rumsey 3rd
    • 220lbs Trevon Foster 3rd
    • 285lbs Kaijhan Trent 2nd = District Runner-up
  • Dukes in the Farmville Herald:

Events for the Week:

  • Monday
    • 9-12 Local Alternate Assessment Planning
    • 7:00  School Board Budget Work Session
  • Tuesday
    • CCES Focus School Meeting
  • Wednesday
    • School Board Visits with Senator Garrett and Delegate Wright
  • Friday
    • Superintendent Student Panel Meetings
      • 9:00 CCES
      • 10:00 CMS
      • 2:00 CHS

Snow Days!

Welcome Back!  I hope everyone enjoyed the snow and the extra time at home.  I rode my Honda UTV through the snow for the first time. What a rush!  My seven month old Saint Bernard puppy, Sassy Rose, also enjoyed her first snow! 
I want to thank the Cumberland maintenance crew for preparing the school grounds so we could return to school.  On a personal note, a special thanks goes to Mr. Andrew Stinson for surprising me by shoveling the entrance to my driveway.  He must have taken pity on me after observing me four-wheeling to get into my driveway earlier this week.  
Now that we are back, it is time to adjust the calendar and reschedule missed events.  Please see the below changes and adjust your calendars.  
Change of Term Dates:
  • 3rd Nine Weeks Interims Home:  February 10, 2016
  • End of 3rd Nine Weeks:  March 11, 2016
  • 3rd Nine Weeks Report Cards Home:  March 18, 2016
Snow Make Up Days:
  • 1/21:  Monday, February 15, 2016
  • 1/22:  Monday, April 18, 2016
  • 1/25:  Thursday, May 19, 2016
  • 1/26:  Friday, May 20, 2016  (12:00 noon dismissal for students)
  • 1/27:  TBD (depends on if further missed days) 
Other Event Make Up Days:
  • School Board Budget Work Session:  Monday, February 1, 2016
  • CMS VDOE Science Technical Assistance Webinar:  February 4, 2016
  • Superintendent Student Panel Meetings:  Friday, February 5, 2016
  • Teacher Cabinet Meeting:  Friday, February 26, 2016
  • Critical Incident PD:  TBD
CuCPS Highlights:

Division Calendar:

CCES is pleased to announce that the Media Center will be open until 5:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, beginning Tuesday, February 2, 2016. Please bring your student by to check out a book, return a book, or use a computer.

Change is A-Coming!

After hearing Governor McAuliffe speak twice last week, once during the State of the Commonwealth address and then at the VASS winter conference, one things is clear-- he is recognizing that K-12 public education is the foundation of the New Virginia Economy.  Governor McAuliffe pointed this out many times throughout both speeches while speaking of redesigning high schools, preparing students for the 21st Century economy, and reforming the assessment and accountability systems. What is unique now is that these sentiments are bipartisan- with republicans, democrats, delegates, and senators all agreeing. I know-- it's about time!  So, hang on...change is a-coming!
CuCPS Highlights:


  • 2016 CuCPS Spelling Bee:
    • Division Winner- Cierra Jeffers, 7th Grade
    • Division Runner Up- Jack Williamson, 5th Grade
    • Grade Level Representatives:
      • 1st Grade: 
        • Winner- Eric Johnson
        • Runner Up- David Sullivan
      • 2nd Grade:
        • Winner- Tamilyah Harris
        • Runner Up- Taytana Brooks
      • 3rd Grade:
        • Winner- Natalie Sullivan
        • Runner Up- Addy Carney
      • 4th Grade:
        • Winner- Chase Myers
        • Runner Up- Brooklyn Winingham
      • 5th Grade:
        • Winner- Jack Williamson
        • Runner Up- Shyheim Brown
      • 6th Grade:
        • Winner- Dylon Boatwright
        • Runner Up- Jaleel Brown
      • 7th Grade:
        • Winner- Cierra Jeffers
        • Runner Up- Mya Johnson Taylor
      • 8th Grade:
        • Winner- Graceyn Cubbage
        • Runner Up- Tanner Cochran
  • The CHS 2016 Robotics Team attended the First Competition kickoff at VCU.

Events for the Week:
  • Tuesday:  CHS After School Program Begins
  • Wednesday:  CHS Academic Review
  • Friday: Teacher Cabinet (12:00 noon)
CCES is pleased to announce that the Media Center will be open until 5:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, beginning Tuesday, February 2, 2016. Please bring your student by to check out a book, return a book, or use a computer.

2016: Resilience

The first week of a new year has come and gone as well as many New Year Resolutions. I read something on Twitter recently about "summing up" your hope for 2016 in one word--a New Year Resolution Word.  I have been pondering on what one word I would choose for our work at CuCPS.
With the new year and the beginning of the second semester, I ask that each of us ask ourselves/reflect on the following:
1.  Why did I choose to be a public educator or work in a public school?
2.  Why did I choose to work at Cumberland County Public Schools?
3.  Am I fulfilling the purpose of my chosen profession?
4.  Am I producing quality work?
5.  Do I put student learning ahead of my own professional wants?
6.  Do I have high expectations for each and every student and provide students the supports they need to be successful?
7.  What are the long-term impacts of my actions when students learn or do not learn?
Resilience is my word for CuCPS in 2016.  Through focus, quality work, and positive attitudes, we can be the school division that each and every student deserves-- even amongst great challenges and rapid change.  The purpose and impact of our profession are great.  The consequences of quality, or the lack of, will be life-changing for our students. Sometimes in the daily routine of life, we forget that. 
CuCPS Highlights:
Events for the Week:
  • Monday:
    • 7:00 January School Board Meeting (6:00 Closed Session)
  • Tuesday:
    • 12:00 Administrative Council Meeting
    • 7:00 Board of Supervisors Meeting
  • Wednesday:
    • Region 8 PBA Design Workshop
    • CHS Academic Review Documents Due
  • Thursday:
    • 9:45  Division Spelling Bee
    • Region 8 PBA Design Workshop
Monday, January 18th:  CuCPS Schools and Offices Closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday

Happy New Year!

From School Board membership, athletic history, annual ceremonies and performances, to elementary student work exhibitions-- CuCPS was in full force with many milestones the week prior to winter break. On December 14th, we honored and said goodbye to Mr. Reid as a School Board member of 23 years with great service and character and then welcomed new Board member Cindy Morgan at the Swearing-In Ceremony on December 16th.  CCES held its 15th Annual Winter Musical with fourth graders performing the musical, Prehistoric Christmas.  The Class of 2017 participated in their Junior Ring Ceremony while elementary students showcased their student work at the first grade Past and Present Museum and the third grade Holidays Around the World exhibit.  And lastly, two senior athletes committed to colleges with scholarships:  Timothy Jackson (football) to Virginia Tech and Ebony Jones (track) to St. Andrews College.  There are great things happening at CuCPS and I am very thankful for those that make them possible. Happy New Year!
CuCPS Highlights:
Events for the Week:
  • Monday:  CCES Focus School Site Visit and Meeting
  • Friday:  Report Cards Come Home


Mr. George Reid: Service and Character

This evening, we will recognize and honor Mr. George J. Reid, Jr. for his 23 years of service, dedication, and commitment to Cumberland County Public Schools as a School Board member. Mr. Reid was appointed to the School Board in June 1993, and has served continuously until the present.  While on the Board, he has been both chairman and vice-chairman and has functioned in various other capacities including Board Representative and Chair for the Governor's School and voting delegate for VSBA. In 2014, he was named to the VSBA All Virginia School Board.  
Mr. Reid has remained a constant and dedicated voice for education. During his tenure on the Board, many great changes have taken place in the school division. He was instrumental in building new schools- the elementary school in 1996 and the new middle/high school complex in 2008, in approving funding for a one-to-one laptop initiative for the high school, and in supporting initiatives for school improvement. 
Mr. Reid has always taken his responsibilities seriously and demonstrates this by faithfully attending meetings, attending workshops and conferences, being visible in the community, and lobbying for improvement and funding for schools on the local and state level. He puts students first, as can be seen by his support of programs such as Senior Project, JROTC, CTE opportunities, dual enrollment, prekindergarten, the arts, and athletics.
Mr. Reid has many characteristics that make him a valuable member of the Board. He is thoughtful and well spoken, often serving as a liaison with the community.  He has high standards and integrity, making him well respected by fellow Board members, administrators, faculty, students, and parents.  He once tried to retire from the Board, but was so highly regarded that his constituents went to the polls and elected him as a write-in candidate. With his strong sense of duty, he accepted the office and continued to serve one last term.  Service and character define Mr. Reid.
This is a bittersweet moment, Mr. Reid has served the Cumberland County Public School community with the utmost caring, dignity, and respect.  He deserves this time to devote to his family and friends.  We will truly miss his quiet leadership.  This school community will continue his legacy of high expectations, standards, and character to ensure that each and every student is provided a quality education.
CuCPS Highlights:
Events for the Week:
  • Monday
    • 5:00 Reception for Mr. Reid
    • 7:00  December School Board Meeting
  • Tuesday
    • Region 8 PBA Design Team Workshop
  • Wednesday
    • 4:00  School Board Swearing-In at Court House
  • Thursday
    • 6:30  CCES Winter Musical
  • Friday
    • End of Nine Weeks/First Semester
    • 12:00 Early Dismissal for Students
December 21-January 1:  Winter Break
Dec. 28-29:  2015 Boys Basketball Holiday Tournament

Dukes: Big Minds, Talent, and Hearts

There were many shining moments from last week.  Students and staff honored Mrs. Betty Scales by providing services throughout the community including beautifying grounds; visiting the nursing home; donating food, clothes, stuffed animals, toys, and animal treats and toys--- just to name a few. CMS student, Jordan Newman, participated in highlighting the importance of agriculture at the White House. He was one of only a few FFA members from across the nation invited to attend this event. The week concluded with CCES and CMS students and their families celebrating student work and performances at the Celebration of Excellence Nights.  Our students and staff never cease to amaze me with their knowledge, talent, and most of all -- big hearts! 
CuCPS Highlights:


Events for the Week:

  • Monday
    • CCES and CMS Academic Review/Focus School Visit
  • Tuesday
    • 12:00 Administrative Council Meeting
    • 6:00 CHS Scholarship Night
    • 7:00 Board of Supervisors Meeting
  • Friday
    • CCES and CMS Academic Review Workshop
  • Sunday:  Cumberland Christmas Parade
  • Monday, December 14, 2015:
    • 5:00 Reception Mr. Reid's 23 years of service on the Cumberland County School Board
    • 7:00  December School Board Meeting
      • Public Input for the 2016-2017 Budget

Betty Scales Day of Service

The Cumberland County Board of Supervisors established December 2nd as the Betty Scales Day of Service. Mrs. Scales was an educator in Cumberland County for 45 years.  She served our community as a pianist, missionary, mentor, and community volunteer with the local Clothes Closet, Social Services, Virginia Lung Association, 4-H Clubs, and many more organizations.  On Wednesday, students and staff across the division will participate in serving the community.  High school students will participate in activities such as making cards for soldiers, first responders, or nursing home patients; donating clothes to the Clothes Closet; or bringing canned food items for the local food bank. The middle school is holding a drive for canned food, gloves and hats, cards for soldiers, and toys for the Christmas Mother. At the elementary school, students will beautify the grounds, make cards for the elderly, buddy read, collect stuffed animals for the Cumberland Sheriff's department, visit patients at the Woodlands, collect toys and treats for the Cumberland County Animal Control, and make cards for the Cumberland Christmas Mother.
We are proud to be honoring and remembering Mrs. Betty Scales by serving our community as she did.  She was a remarkable woman, mother, educator, and civic leader. My hope is that we all try to live by her example.
CuCPS Highlights:
  • 47 Seniors earned and received jackets at the Class of 2016 Academic Jacket Ceremony last week.

CMS Faculty vs. Students Basketball Game Fundraiser
Events for the Week:
CMS Faculty vs. Students Basketball Game Fundraiser


Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.  -Henry Van Dyke
I am thankful for my family, the CuCPS students and staff, and our community. Last week, I was fortunate to spend time with the Superintendent Student Panel members, administration at the November Academic Review Session, the School Board and Student Liaisons at the VSBA Conference, and the CCES teachers and administration during data meetings. It was a whirlwind of a week; however, opportunities such as these keep me grounded and focused. I enjoyed hearing from our student panel members and was proud to see our Student Liaisons attend the Student Leadership Workshop with students from across the state. Ahkiya and Hannah represented us well as they spoke with Board members and other superintendents after the session. It has been wonderful to see them grow from young children in elementary school to young adults getting ready to graduate -- I am thankful for who our students are becoming.
I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving with family and friends. Eat lots of food, have fun, and relax!  You deserve it!
Interesting Articles for Teachers:
Family and friends enjoy Thanksgving Lunch at CMS.
CuCPS Highlights:

Sixth grade students are learning to code in the Media Center.

Events for the Week:
  • Monday
    • CHS Data Meetings
  • Tuesday
    • 8:30 Academic Jacket Ceremony
  • Wednesday-Friday:  Thanksgiving Break
On December 2, 2015, all students will participate in the Betty Scales Day of Service.
December School Board Meeting Reminders (12/14/15):
  • 5:00 p.m. -- Reception to honor School Board Member George Reid's 23 years of service to CuCPS.
  • 7:00 p.m. -- Public Input for the 2016-2017 School Budget