Amy Griffin's Blog

Holiday Wishes

The CHS Junior Ring Ceremony was held on Thursday, December 11, 2014.
Twas the week before Winter Break and all through the division,
the students and staff were fulfilling the CuCPS vision...
From 5th grade students making Ferris Wheels using coding and Hummingbird Robotics to CHS students conducting a Fashion Show in Spanish, students throughout the division are learning using 21st Century skills. Serving our community also has been on top of the list with ROTC and the Marching Dukes participating in the Cumberland Christmas Parade and the Little Duke Leaders preparing to read aloud to students and senior citizens. With a week left of school before Winter Break, CMS will host and celebrate student learning at the Celebrating Excellence Expo Night and CCES will hold the annual Winter Musical.
As we conclude first semester and enter Winter Break, I would like to thank all the CuCPS faculty and staff for their hard work and dedication to the children of Cumberland.  I wish everyone a wonderful and safe holiday and a happy New Year!  Please be safe, relax, and enjoy time with your family and friends.
She sprang to the CuCPS Facebook page, to her team gave a shout-out,
While they all loaded school buses and cars to get about.
But I heard her exclaim, 'ere she blogged at the lake ,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good break"
CuCPS Highlights:

Events for the Week:

  • 5:30-7:30 p.m.  CMS Expo Night
  • CCES Focus School Meeting
  • 7:00 p.m.  CCES Winter Musical
  • 12:00 noon Dismissal for Students
  • 12:00-3:30  Teacher Collaborative Planning Day
  • End of the Semester (Report Cards Home:  January 9, 2015)
Winter Break:  Dec. 22, 2014-January 2, 2015

High Expectations for ALL Students

Carpentry students play Jenga.
Larry Rosenstock, co-founder and CEO of High Tech High, recently gave advice to educators on how to move public education forward.  Technology has changed society expeditiously with many systems and institutions transitioning with the times. He admits that public education is one of the greatest systems established and crucial to democracy; however, it has been slow to change with the times. He reminds educators to have high expectations for ALL students.  
He says, “Catch yourself every time you’re systematically mis-predicting who can and who can’t do what among your children. We mis-predict among race, gender, socio-economic status, and standardized test. It’s not democratic and it’s not moving us forward.”  

Let's pledge to do this. We need to stop saying that our children can't do this or that. I was taught at a very young age by my grandfather to never say, "I can't". This should also apply to what I say about others. Recent discussions with Dr. Lisa Meyers and these comments from Larry Rosenstock have reminded me that an increase in student achievement at Cumberland County Public Schools begins with us -- having high expectations for our students and believing in them are fundamental for their growth and the reason we got into public education in the first place.  

CuCPS Highlights:

  • The Dukes wrestled Nottoway in a Middle School/High School Dual. The Middle School had a solid showing in their 1st matches and the High School team wrestled Nottoway to a 42-42 draw. Nick Yoder, John Ryan Bapties, Davidrick Brooks, Trevon Foster and Joe Kingsley all earned wins. 
  • The JV and Varsity Boys defeated the Rappannock High School Raiders for their 1st victories of the season. 
  • Congrats to our CMS Boys and Girls Basketball teams for their wins against PE!
  • The CHS Scholastic Bowl teams had matches in Goochland. The Varsity team had close matches against Buckingham and Goochland while the JV team defeated Randolph-Henry but lost to Goochland in James River District competition.
  • Aumuni News:
    • The CHS Basketball Alumni Committee hosted the 6th Bi-annual Alumni Basketball Games & Hall of Fame (HOF) inductions on Saturday. The 2014 Class for the HOF consisted of Mr. Gary Cosby (Coach), Ms. Kempy Tillerson (Sponsor), Mrs. Sallie Hatcher (Supporter), and Mr. Will Robinson (Lifetime Achievement). The following teams will be inducted to the Hall: Luther P. Jackson 1967-1968, 3rd place State Team; the CHS 1977-1978 1st State Champions; and the 1978-1979 2nd State Champions.
    • Congrats to Christopher Foster, a CHS Alumnus, who joined the Virginia State Police.  Foster is now on patrol in Buckingham County. Foster is among the 50 troopers who graduated on Nov. 21 from the Virginia State Police Academy. 
Events for the Week:
  • Monday
    • 7:00 School Board Meeting
  • Tuesday
    • 3:30  CCES SLT Meeting
    • 7:00  Board of Supervisors Meeting
  • Wednesday
    • 10:00 CCES DLT Focus School Meeting
  • Sunday
    • Cumberland Christmas Parade
Winter Break Information:
  • Friday, December 19th:  Students will be dismissed at 12:00 noon
  • Winter Break:  December 22-Jan 2nd


Tuesday, December 2, 2014, has been designated as Giving Tuesday, a national day of giving.  People from around the world will come together for one common purpose -- to celebrate generosity and to give.  The students and staff at Cumberland County Public Schools have always been generous to those in need.  My hope is that tomorrow each and every student and staff member will celebrate generosity by giving in some way and/or highlighting philanthropy from this school year.
There is not a better feeling in the world than the feeling of giving to others. Providing the opportunities and the "feeling of giving" to our children teaches empathy and compassion -- much needed traits in the world today.
From the song, We are the World:  
We are the world, we are the children 
We are the ones who make a brighter day 
So let’s start giving 
There's a choice we're making 
We're saving our own lives 
Its true, we'll make a better day 
Just you and me
I would like to highlight our various ways of participation. Please email me details and/or pictures of examples of giving from the 2014-2015 school year by this Friday. For more information or ideas for Giving Tuesday, visit the Giving Tuesday website, Resources include a K-12 curriculum about giving.  
CuCPS Highlights:

CMS students are learning with their new teacher, Ms. Hazelgrove. Students taught Mrs. Tillett how to make a turkey out of an Oreo cookie!  

  • Results of the most recent Rifle Meet with Buckingham and Powhatan (25 shooters) were: #1 Top Gun - Dylan Stimpson; #2 Top Gun - Coleman Phillips; #3 Top Gun - William Kinney; #2 Standing Position - John Bapties; #1 Standing Position - Mierra Edwards. Our Air Rifle Team is currently #1 in the league which also includes Nottoway. Their final meet will be on December 11th.
  • The Cumberland High School Wrestling team had a successful scrimmage at Monticello High School. Davidrick Brooks, Zach Amos, Sean Stinnett, Trevon Foster, Joe Kingsley, A.J. Wingo and Gustabo Lopez all earned victories. The Dukes officially open the 2014-2015 season at home against Nottoway High School on Wednesday, December 3rd.

Events for the Week:

  • Monday:
    • CCES Book Fair Begins (open all week)
    • 6:00 CHS Student-Parent Driver's Safety Meeting
  • Thursday:
    • CCES Celebrate Excellence Night

Giving Thanks...

Students and families enjoy Thanksgiving Lunch!
With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I hope everyone is taking the time during the hustle and bustle of the holiday to reflect on what you appreciate. It is easy to focus on the challenges, difficulties, and the only-ifs.  The CuCPS family has much to be grateful for-- we have quality staff members, students who are eager to learn, and a caring community. Even though we are a small, rural community with limited resources, we continue to show the world that we can compete and hold our own! 
I wish everyone a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!
Keep up with CuCPS and current trends and research in education on the CuCPS Twitter feed at
CuCPS Highlights:
  • News from the VSBA Annual Conference:
    • Cumberland County School Board Member George J. Reid, Jr. received the VSBA All Virginia School Board Award.
    • CuCPS was one of 33 “VSBA Certified Green School Divisions” in the VSBA Green Schools Challenge. 
    • Haven Langhorne and Wyatt Salinas attended the VSBA Student Leadership Workshop.
    • Ciera Whaley, Wesley Marshall, and Mrs. Davis participated in the Student Achievement Fair. They shared the Duke Store business plan.
  • Ahkiya Allen, Ebony Jones, and Alexa Massey attended the Conference for Future Medical Leaders in Washington, D. C. 
  • Kayla Paras was awarded $250.oo from a travel scholarship by EF, our travel sponsors to Puerto Rico. 
  • CHS student Brenton Morris received his Eagle Scout Badge.
  • CCES reading specialist Rachel Johnson was awarded $50 for books through a Mini-Economics Grant.  CCES teachers Miss Lane, Mrs. Riviere, and Mrs. Dobrowolski also received $50.00 from this grant.
  • Check out pictures from a CHS Site Visit:
  • CHS student Holly Tillett produced a video about Technology at CuCPS for my visit to the White House:
  • CCES and CMS hosted family members for Thanksgiving lunches last week. Pictures can be found on our Facebook page.
  • Members of CCES Team WIN and the Cartersville Garden Club are beautifying the Children's Memorial Garden at CCES.
  • CCES celebrated Mrs. Barley's 45 years of service.
Events for the Week:
  • Monday:
    • 6:00 CuCPS Town Hall Meeting
  • Tuesday:
    • 8:30 a.m.  Academic Jacket Ceremony
  • Wednesday-Friday:  Thanksgiving Break

The Future Ready Pledge

4th graders engage in closed circuit labs.
As a division, we have been working to move from a 19th/20th Century education model to the 21st Century. Our purpose is to prepare students to be successful life-long learners, workers, and citizens-- in the future, not the past nor present. We do this with a focus on teaching content through 21st Century learning skills at much higher cognitive levels. We must ensure students can effectively communicate and collaborate; critically think and problem solve; access and analyze information; have curiosity and imagination; and be innovative. These skills are evident in the Virginia Standards of Learning Curriculum Framework.  Several examples include:
  • The English standards and essential knowledge/skills include communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving.
  • Math standards (processing skills) and science standards include critical thinking and problem solving.
  • The history standards include accessing and analyzing information as well as critically thinking.
  • Many of the essential knowledge and skills of the standards across disciplines require students to create-- meaning new, unique applications of the content.
Along the topic of preparing our students for their future, I will be representing Cumberland County Public Schools at the Superintendents Summit at the White House this week.  During the Summit, I will once again sign the Future Ready Pledge along with 99 other selected superintendents from across the nation, President Obama, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. I am honored and humbled to have been selected.  I know that I have been selected due to the great team of professionals and students I serve. I pledge to:
  • Foster and Lead a Culture of Digital Learning Within Our Schools.
  • Help Schools and Families Transition to High-speed Connectivity.
  • Empower Educators through Professional Learning Opportunities.
  • Accelerate Progress Toward Universal Access for All Students to Quality Devices.
  • Provide Access to Quality Digital Content.
  • Offer Digital Tools to Help Students And Families 
  • Mentor Other Districts and Help Them Transition to Digital Learning.
I know I will have lots to tell once I return. Until then, you can research more about the Summit and the Future Ready Pledge at and
CuCPS Highlights:

FFA Officers and Mrs. Talbott present information on the new Ag Program at the Cumberland Woman's Club Meeting.

Events for the Week:

  • Monday
    • Driver's Education Meeting
  • Tuesday
    • VSBA Annual Conference
  • Wednesday
    • PreK-1st Grade Thanksgiving Feast
    • CMS Thanksgiving Feast
    • Supt. Summit at the White House
  • Thursday
    • Grades 2-4 Thanksgiving Feast
    • 5:00 Dual Enrollment Info Meeting
Wednesday, Nov. 26-28, 2014:  Thanksgiving Break (Schools Closed)


There were many happy memories made last week ranging from academics to athletics. A whopping 53 middle school students were inducted into the National Junior Honors Society while new Little Duke leaders joined the pack to begin service leadership for the 2014-2015 school year. Our students had various educational experiences including field trips to Bear Creek Lake State Park and Amazement Square.  4th graders learned from Native American expert, Mrs. Sawtelle, who taught them about Native American culture through stories and dance. Fall athletics are on the upswing with a great season for the first CMS football team, cross county athletes qualifying for state competition, and the Lady Dukes volleyball team earning runner-up in the conference and proceeding to the 1A-East Regional Volleyball Tournament. My favorite event of the week had to be the 8th grade Sock Hop.  I do believe the adults had just as much as fun as the students.  Make sure you check out Mrs. Snead, Ms. Rhodes, and Mrs. Chambliss in the pictures posted on our Facebook page.
As I reflect each Sunday in order to write this Blog, the accomplishments of our students and staff always make me proud and get my mind and heart in the right place to begin a new work week.  I would like to thank each CuCPS faculty and staff member for ensuring our students have all the opportunities they experience each and every day.  It is truly amazing to see how much happens over a week. What touched me the most about last week was seeing our teachers having such a great time with the students, from the Sock Hop to the 6th grade field trip-- teachers and staff were loving what they were doing!  That makes me proud!  

CuCPS Highlights:

  • 53 middle school students were inducted into the NJHS last week.
    • Congratulations to the following NJHS officers: President - Nadia Elasha; V. President - Cailey Hurley; Secretary - Abby Heath; Treasurer - Tayanna Bradley; and Historian - Cole Fillman.
  • The Little Duke Leaders have added new members this year!
  • Sports News:  
    • Our CHS Lady Dukes will be the #6 seed in the 2014 VHSL 1A-East Regional Volleyball Tournament tonight. The Lady Dukes will travel to #3 seed Mathews High School with game time at 6:00 p.m.
      • The Lady Dukes finished as the Conference 44 runner-up with a 13-8 record by defeating William Campbell, 3-1, and Highland HS, 3-0. 

  • The Cumberland High School Girls Cross Country Team finished in 10th place out of 17 in the 1A East Regional at Pocahontas State Park.
  • Congratulations to the following Boys Cross Country Team runners who qualified for the VHSL State competition to be held this week: Jared Halvorsen (4th), Mathew Bapties and John Ryan Bapties. 
  • The CMS Football team beat Nelson 42-0.
  • The following teams celebrated Senior Night:
    • Volleyball
    • Football
  • Alumni News: Article written by CHS alum, Allie Robinson Gibson:
  • Faculty and Staff News:
    • The Judith Randolph-Longwood Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, will hold its Nov. 11 meeting at the Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library in Farmville, at 3:30 p.m. The guest speaker will be Major Peter Amico, Commander R.O.T.C at Cumberland County High School. The topic of discussion will be “Training Our Young Men.”
    • Kindergarten and 1st grade teachers planned with Mrs. Ruth Harbin-Miles during collaborative planning.
    • 3rd grade teachers developed Table of Specifications (TOS) during collaborative planning.
Events for the Week:
  • Monday
    • School Board Meeting (Closed Session at 6:00 p.m. and Open Session at 7:00 p.m.)
  • Tuesday
    • Ruritan Veteran's Day Breakfast at the Cumberland Fire House
    • CCES Focus School Visit
  • Wednesday
    • Fall Sports Banquet (6:00 p.m.)
  • Thursday
    • Financial Aid Night (6:00 p.m.)
  • Friday
    • SVCC Health Science Fair in Chase City

Upcoming Events:

  • Monday, November 17th: Parent-Student Driver’s Education Meeting 

Thinking about Rigor

While working on aligning the written, taught, and assessed curriculum,  we have found the importance of ensuring that the standards and essential knowledge/skills are taught at the appropriate cognitive level. The rigor of the intended learning outcome must be planned, executed, and assessed. I found the above graphic to be a good example that planning for deeper learning does not mean more, added work -- but different.
CuCPS Highlights:

  • Congratulations to the CHS Volleyball Teams for their wins last week. JV won in two sets and  Varsity won in four sets. The Varsity Ladies celebrated Senior Night with solid play and have earned 3rd place in the Conference 44 playoffs scheduled for this week. 
    • The Varsity Lady Dukes will be hosting the first round of the Conference 44 Volleyball Tournament on Wednesday, at 6 p.m. against Highland County High School in the gym. 
  • Girls Cross Country finished 3rd and qualified for 1A East Regionals. Ebony Jones (10th), Marya Elasha (12th), and Annesha Harris (13th) were All-Conference 44 runners. Carmean Meacham and Tonishea Ford qualified with the team.
  • Boys Cross Country Team finished 4th. Jared Halvorsen finished in 3rd place and was All-Conference 44. Matthew Bapties finished 11th place and made the All-Conference Team. John Bapties (16th), Joseph Kingsley, Delante Trent, and JaQuan Brown all ran well. The VHSL 1A East Regional will take place Wednesday, November 5th at Pocahontas Park in Chesterfield.

  • CMS Red Ribbon Week Art Contest Winners:
    • Front row L-R: Alexander Alvarez, Ann McConkey, Jada Patterson, Ebony Arauz-Tellez
    • Back row L-R: Taron Yancey, Shakisha Ayers, Linden Czeizinger, Zoe Leonard
  • Alumni News:
    • John P. "Jay" Brandt was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa at Hampden-Sydney College on October 26, 2014. Membership in Omicron Delta Kappa is granted to those who demonstrate leadership achievements in one of five phases of campus life:
      • Scholarship
      • Athletics
      • Campus or Community Service, Social and Religious Activities, and Campus Government
      • Journalism, Speech and Mass Media
      • Creative and Performing Arts

Events for the Week:

  • Tuesday
    • 10:00 Administrative Council Meeting
  • Wednesday
    • 3:30  CCES SLT/Division Team Data Meeting
  • Thursday
    • 3:30  CCES Focus School Webinars

Big Things Do Come in Small Packages

It is said that big things come in small packages-- this is definitely the case with all the great things that are happening at CuCPS. We may be a small school division; however, last week was filled with many milestones, events, and accomplishments as you can read in the CuCPS Highlights.  From winning in fall sports to participating in unique field trips, our students excelled and participated in numerous activities and events. Please take the time to read about all the wonderful things and opportunities that took place with our students and staff!
CuCPS Highlights:
  • CHS students interacted with NASA in the MESDT 2014-2015 Student Kick-Off Event. See our students at 51.03 on the video clip.
  • The first edition of an online magazine published by English 10 Honors students, under the direction of Mrs. Haigh, can be found at
  • Cumberland Theatre finished 2nd place in the Conference 44 Theatre Championships. The Dukes performed well and now look forward to advancing to the Regional Championships in two weeks at Northumberland County High School.
    • Congratulations to Justin Crawford for being selected as an All-Conference 44 Outstanding Actor!
  • Cheyenne Crenshaw and Linden Czeizinger were recognized at the 2014 Area Youth Art Exhibit for having selected works displayed in the Longwood Hull Building.
  • The CHS Boys Cross Country Team finished 3rd in the JRD Cross Country Championships. John Bapties finished 7th; Matthew Bapties, 3rd; and Jared Halvorsen finished in 1st place. All three runners were named to the All JRD Team. These young men will be competing with the rest of their teammates in the Conference 44 Championships in Altavista Va. 
    • Congratulations goes to Jared Halvorsen for being named the 2014 JRD Cross Country Runner Of The Year.

  • The CMS Football Team won against William Campbell.
  • The CMS Volleyball Team finished the season with a 7-1 record!
  • Field Trips:

  • Special Events for the Week:
    • Delegate Tommy Wright visited early for VSBA Take Your Legislator to School Month
    • CCES Participated in Read for the Record Day!
    • Chemistry students celebrated Mole Day!
    • Students with the Respiratory Therapy Program in the Heath Science Academy celebrated Respiratory Care Week.
    • Parents and students participated in Conferences.
  • Staff attended the following Professional Development:
    • CCES Focus School 
    • Region 8 Writing Aligned Test Items 
    • DOE English SOL Institute
  • Alumni News:  
    • 2014 Graduate Ti'Eshia Crump was named the 2014 Virginia State University ROTC Homecoming Queen!
    • 2014 Graduate Logan Ross was recognized at the 2014 Area Youth Art Exhibit for having selected work displayed in the Longwood Hull Building.

Events for the Week:
  • Monday
    • 10:00 Administrative Council Meeting
    • 3:00 CMS Alternate Assessment Meeting
  • Tuesday
    • 3:30  CCES Alternate Assessment Meeting
  • Wednesday
    • CMS Academic Review Workshop

New addition in the Ag Program! 

It's Parent-Teacher Conference Time!

Congratulations to Homecoming 2014 King and Queen, Chase Davis and Madison Glover!
Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held this Thursday, October 23, 2014, from 11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.  The format is different this year with students not having school on Thursday. Students are strongly encouraged to attend conferences with their parents.  Students are an integral part of the conferencing process -- you are conferencing about their learning! This will hopefully lead to student-led conferences in the future.  
To get everyone prepared for Thursday, I have found two articles. One is about what parents want teachers to know while the other is about what teachers want parents to know.  I found it interesting to read about the perspectives from both stakeholders.
What Parents Want Teachers to Know:
  • Every home situation is different.
  • Please, plan for us.
  • Homework must be meaningful-- if given at all.
  • How can I be an advocate without being overbearing?
  • We're here for a better life.
  • Meet us where we are.
What Teachers Want Parents to Know:
  • Coaches, advisors play valuable roles, too.
  • Stay in the know with social media.
  • Change is hard but essential.
  • We are all on the same team.
  • At-home projects are important.
  • Respect goes both ways.
  • Your words can foster a love for learning.
Read more from Eric Sheninger's article in USA Today at
CHS teachers have fun with Spirit Week!
CuCPS Highlights:
  • Last week was filled with good times and lots of spirit!  It ended with a game win (44-20) and the Homecoming Dance on Saturday. Congratulations to Homecoming 2014 King and Queen, Chase Davis and Madison Glover.  Homecoming Week pictures can be found at
  • Recognitions and presentations at the October School Board meeting can be found at
  • Dr. Jones, Mr. Reid, Mr. Gilliam, and Mr. Preston represented CuCPS in the Backpacks of Love Golf Tournament fundraiser last week.  
  • All three schools participated in Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills on October 16th.
  • The October 13th Professional Development Day consisted of K-8 Math PD and Collaborative Planning.

Coleman Phillips and Justin Caban attend the West Point Leadership and Ethics Conference.
Events for the Week:
  • Monday:  
    • English SOL Institute
  • Wednesday:
    • Report Cards Home
    • 1:00 Visit from Delegate Tommy Wright (VSBA Take Your Legislator to School Month)
  • Thursday:
    • No School for Students
    • Parent-Teacher Conferences from 11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
    • Region 8 Writing Assessment Items Workshop
  • Sunday:
    • Longwood Youth Art Exhibit from 2:30-4:00 p.m.
High School Students:  If you are interested in going to Puerto Rico for Spring Break 2015, please contact Mrs. Barr at  
K-8 Math PD: Math Vertical Alignment 

It's Homecoming Week!


CMS celebrates Pink Day to bring awareness and prevent Breast Cancer.
Cooler weather and the beautiful changing colors of leaves are indications that Homecoming is upon us.  Homecoming week is an exciting and memorable time for our students and staff. Traditional events take place this week including spirit days, a Powderpuff game, the Homecoming Game against Bluestone High School, and the annual Homecoming Dance. CCES and CHS Spirit Week themes can be found on our Facebook Page at  We are pleased to recognize the 2014 Homecoming Class Representatives: 
Mr. and Miss Freshman – William Groves and Olivia Sims 
Mr. and Miss Sophomore – De’Shaun Liggins and TayZiana Booker 
Mr. and Miss Junior – Dakota Boyles and Cadajah Randolph 
Mr. and Miss Senior – Deitrich Brown and Ajah Smith
2014 Homecoming Queen Nominees: Annesha Harris, Madison Glover, Kajah Smith, Alexa Massey, and Taneijha Hampton
2014 Homecoming King Nominees: Juwan Childress, Edward Rose, Chase Davis, Quinton Harris, and Tony Ford

First graders in Ms. Grant's class collaborate on a map project.
CuCPS Highlights:
Events for the Week:
  • Professional Development Day: No School for Students
    • K-8 Math PD
    • Collaborative Planning
  • 10:00 Ag. Advisory Committee Meeting
  • October School Board Meeting
  • Make-Up Football Game against Amelia (in Amelia)
  • 7:00  Board of Supervisors Meeting
  • End of 9 Weeks (Report Cards Home Oct. 22)
  • 4:00 Gov. School Joint Board Meeting
  • 5:30  CHS Powderpuff Game
  • Backpacks of Love Golf Tournament
  • Homecoming Football Game
  • CHS Homecoming Dance
October 23, 2014: Parent-Teacher Conference Day from 11:00-7:00. There will be no school for students; however, parents are strongly encouraged to bring their children to the conferences. Students are integral participants in conferences.