Amy Griffin's Blog

CuCPS: An Extraordinary Family

 
 

CMS has this beautiful welcoming message as people enter the school.

 
I am eager to see all the faculty and staff today at the CuCPS 2015-2016 Convocation. Convocation begins at 2:00 p.m. in the CMS/CHS Cafetorium for an Ice Cream Social, meet new staff members, and then hear from guest speaker, Melvin Adams.  Mr. Adams has an inspirational story and will keep everyone laughing!  
 
We have a full week of professional development, curriculum and assessment development, and preparing for the first day of school.  Open House for students and parents will take place this Thursday, August 6, 2015, from 3:00-7:00 p.m. (Prekindergarten begins at 2:00 p.m.).  Links for school supply lists and bus routes have been provided below.
 
School Supply Lists:
 
 
 
CuCPS Highlights:

Events for the Week:

  • Monday
    • 7:30  Strategic Plan Committee Meeting
    • 8:30 Food Service Inservice
    • 9:00 Wireless Bus Meeting
    • 9:00  Custodian Inservice
    • 10:30 Transportation Inservice
    • 11:30 Interactive Achievement Workshop
    • 2:00-4:00 CuCPS Convocation
  • Tuesday
    • Benchmark Assessment Development at schools
    • 11:30 Ruritan Luncheon
    • Teacher Websites Due
    • Cortez Training for new staff
  • Wednesday
    • Benchmark Assessment Development at schools
    • 12:00 CEA Luncheon
    • Cortez Training for new and returning staff
  • Thursday
    • 2:00 PreKindergarten Orientation
    • 3:00-7:00 p.m.  K-12 Open House
    • Launching Destination 21,  the CuCPS Strategic Plan Process
  • Friday
    • 12:00 p.m.  Teachers may leave
    • Schools remain open until 4:15 p.m.
Monday, August 10, 2015:  First Day of School for Students!
 
 

2015-2016: A Year of Teamwork, Mission, and Purpose

 
Calvin Foster attends the Longwood Summer TAG Program.
 
Welcome to the 2015-2016 school year!  This Tuesday and Wednesday, new teachers will attend the New Teacher Institute. The New Teacher Institute is not only an orientation but allows time for networking. On Thursday, all teachers report to their schools to begin planning and preparing for the new school year. We have important work to accomplish as we work toward becoming Fully Accredited at all three schools and more importantly preparing each and every student to be a successful future-ready learner, worker, and citizen.  
 
At the VSBA Conference on Education, I heard Len Forkas, author of What Spins the Wheel, speak. Two lessons from his book resonated with me: nothing beats a mission-driven purpose and high-performing teams create outcomes that exceed objectives.  We know our mission.  We can be a high-performing team. As I have stated before -- with the right tools, support, and mindset-- together, we can accomplish anything!  I am excited about everyone returning and look forward to being part of a high-performing team! Our students deserve no less.
 
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. - Martin Luther King, Jr. 
 
Mrs. Burruss (East) participates in the Longwood Summer TAG program.
 
CuCPS Highlights:

 

Students attend the SVCC STEM Academy.

Events for the Week:

  • Monday
    • 10:00 Administrative Council
  • Tuesday
    • 8:00-3:30  New Teacher Institute 
  • Wednesday
    • 8:00-3:30  New Teacher Institute
  • Thursday
    • All teachers report to schools for the 2015-2016 school year
  • Friday
    • Revised Pacing Guides due to Principals
    • 1:00  Division Special Education Meeting
    • 1:00 Performance Based Assessment Team Meeting

Summers Off? No Way!

 
I have enjoyed learning with our teachers and administrators over the past several weeks as we have planned for balanced assessments and been engaged in K-8 English/Language Arts professional development.  We have also had a team attend the High Schools That Work Conference learning about innovative and best practices around the nation. It is a myth that educators have summers off. Between summer school and programs, professional development, curriculum updates, and professional reading-- we are continuously growing professionally all year long! My appreciation goes out to the CuCPS employees that stay committed to the children of Cumberland each and every day.
 
 
 
CuCPS Highlights:
 
Events for the Week:
 
Two week Teacher Flex Workday Window Begins
  • Monday
    • 10:00 Administrative Council Meeting
  • Tuesday
    • VSBA Conference on Education
  • Wednesday
    • Bus Routes Published
  • Thursday
    • Excellence through Equity Conference
  • Friday
    • Excellence through Equity Conference

Summer Duke Pride

 

 
 
There were several moments last week that reminded me of why Cumberland is so special. As I have said before,  We may be small, but we are mighty! People in Cumberland have big hearts!  The first moment was the third grade presentations to the Administrative Council on social injustice.  Eight year old students researched, passionately spoke, and designed presentations on topics such as access to education, child slavery, clean water, and deforestation. Summer school learning was rigorous, relevant, and empathetic. 
 
The second moment was the NBC 12 News Acts of Kindness recognition of parent and county worker Antwan Monroe who showed everyone what being a good Samaritan was all about. With all the conflict in our nation and world, it was wonderful to see such kindness right here in Cumberland, Virginia.  If you missed the story, you can find the video clip at http://www.nbc12.com/Clip/11660339/acts-of-kindness-good-samaritan-helps-woman-fix-car#.VZxO330bpqk.facebook.
 
Lastly, we celebrated learning at the CCES and CMS Summer School Exhibitions. Students proudly showed their families and peers what they had accomplished over the summer as well as ate lunch together. I ended the week judging SVCC STEM Academy presentations and networking with over 30 of our students and their families.  
 
Overall, it was wonderful seeing smiles on students' faces as they participated in the many opportunities provided to them this summer-  social injustice projects, a Camp Green Lake theme, learning about destinations around the world, zombies, pirates, and much, much more!  At our own high school, students used coding skills, built robots, and flew drones (one even got stuck on top of the middle school roof). 
 
After several weeks of highly intense focus to prepare for the upcoming school year, it was nice to see the "fruits of the labor" of so many dedicated and committed people. Sometimes, I need to take my own advice and take time to reflect and enjoy the work going on around me. It is during these moments that I am reminded of my own purpose.
 
 
2015-2016 School Supply Lists:
 
CuCPS Highlights:
 
Events for the Week:
  • Monday
    • 8:00-3:00 ELA K-2 PD with Lisa Meyers
    • 10:00 Administrative Council Meeting
    • 7:00 School Board Meeting
  • Tuesday
    • 9:00-3:00 ELA 3-5 PD with Lisa Meyers
    • 7:00 Board of Supervisors Meeting
  • Wednesday
    • 8:00-3:00  ELA 6-8 PD with Lisa Meyers
  • Thursday
    • Substitute Teacher Training

Welcome to the 2015-2016 School Year!

 

Dear CuCPS Faculty and Staff:

It is with excitement that I welcome our new and returning staff to the 2015-2016 school year.  I hope you have spent the summer learning, relaxing, and spending time with your family and friends. This summer, I was fortunate enough to have lots of time with my family while enjoying beekeeping, cooking out, canoeing, and riding my new Honda Pioneer on wooded trails.   I never thought I would be one that would enjoy riding a UTV; however, as slow as I drive it—I find it very relaxing and love observing the wildlife. I have to admit that I did not have a good experience on a canoe trip in the middle of Richmond City where my husband tipped over our canoe and I got tossed around in the rapids and on rocks.  Of course, I blame him and he blames me.  All that matters, is that I know the truth (ha-ha)!

A special thanks goes to all the faculty and staff that spent the summer teaching summer school, programs, and academies to ensure that our students have expanded learning opportunities.  I also appreciate those that have participated in professional development and on planning teams to prepare for the upcoming school year.

Please closely review the pre-service week calendars that have been mailed to you. You can also find copies of these on the CuCPS website at http://www.cucps.k12.va.us/images/Downloads/Information/WelcomeBackCalendars.pdf Calendar-related items of special note are as follows:

  • Returning teachers are required to work any two weekdays, July 20-29, 2015.

  • The New Teacher Institute will be held July 28-29, 2015, for all teachers new to Cumberland County Public Schools.

  • All teachers report for school-level meetings on July 30, 2015.

  • The Division Convocation for all division staff will be held on Monday, August 3, 2015, from 2:00-4:00 p.m.  The workday (for this day only) will begin at 8:30 a.m. instead of 8:00 a.m.

  • Open House will be held on Thursday, August 6, 2015, from 3:00-7:00 p.m., with the exception of the Pre-Kindergarten Open House that will begin at 2:00 p.m.

  • Teachers may leave at 12:00 noon on Friday, August 7, 2015; however, school buildings will remain open until 4:15 p.m. for those who want to continue to work in classrooms.

I look forward to working with each of you as we prepare our students to be successful 21st Century learners, workers, and citizens as well as overcome some of our challenges.  As I have learned and practiced throughout this summer, whether riding over rugged terrain on my Honda or fighting the rapids and rocks of the James River – with the right tools, support, and mindset – together, we can accomplish and survive anything!

CuCPS Highlights:

 

Events for the Week:

 

Longwood Summer TAG Program Begins

SVCC STEM Academy Begins

  • Monday
    • 10:00 Administrative Council Meeting
  • Tuesday
    • 1:30 Writing Committee Planning Meeting
  • Wednesday
    • 7:00 a.m.  Strategic Planning Meeting
    • 1:30  Assessment Team Planning Meeting
  • Thursday
    • Last Day of Summer School
       
    • STEM Academy Judging

Monday, Monday...

 
 
Why do we celebrate Fridays and dread Monday mornings? This is a question that author Todd Whittaker asks in his book, School Culture Rewired. Shouldn't we be celebrating Mondays?  In education, it is the start of the week to make a difference in a child's life. I also recently heard the quote/question, "Have you lost your why?" Have you lost your purpose?  If not, join me in celebrating Mondays! 
 
Happy Monday- now let's make a difference in our students' lives!
 
 
CuCPS Highlights:
  • Harris Makes CHS History:  http://www.farmvilleherald.com/2015/06/harris-makes-chs-history/
  • Cumberland County QuickStart PRO Summer School program with QuickStart PRO Rich Michaels wrapped up last week. To read all about the 4th year of tennis FUN go to http://www.quickstartcentral.org/pages/index.cfm?siteid=19916.
  • CCES Yearbooks are here and can be picked up between 12:45 and 4:45 p.m., Wednesday, July 1st, at the LPJ Center. Look for Mrs. Overstreet who will be distributing yearbooks. She will also have them during Open House, from 3:00-7:00 p.m., Thursday, August 6. No worries if pick-up times don't work for you. Any yearbook not picked up will be sent home with your child the first week of school, including those of rising fifth graders who will be at CMS.
 

CMS summer school students went to a Richmond Flying Squirrels game last week. Haley caught a ball!

 
 
Events for the Week:
  • Monday
    • 10:00 Administrative Council Meeting
  • Wednesday
    • CCES Yearbook Pick-up:  12:45-4:45 p.m.
  • Thursday
    • No Summer School:  CuCPS is closed for the July 4th Holiday
2015 James Johnson Basketball Skills Camp: Friday July 10th, 5pm-8pm through Saturday July 11th, 9am-noon:
  • Where: Cumberland High School Gym
  • Who:  All-Cumberland students from 6th grade-12th grade 
  • What to Bring: Proper shoes & clothing for camp
  • Gatorade and water will be sold
CHS Hall of Fame Inductee Will Robinson will be this years guest coach/speaker. Coach Robinson has won over 500 basketball games in a 30 year career in Virginia and North Carolina.  Come on out and improve your basketball skills and have fun while doing so!

Refreshing Innovation during Summer School

 

Raspberry Pie?
 
As I walked down the hall, I heard buzzing and the words "raspberry pie" coming from a classroom. It is summer, so my mind drifted to bumble bees flying and tasting warm fruit pie with melting vanilla ice cream.
 
I was quite surprised as I entered the classroom. The buzzing was coming from a drone that students were flying and the pie referenced was Raspberry Pi hardware.  Students will be using their coding skills and these tools to create an amusement park.
 
Although I was a little disappointed that I wouldn't be tasting any delicious sugary pie -- I was very impressed with the initiative and innovation shown by the teacher and students. I am eager to see what will be produced in this class over the summer and even more excited about the Maker Spaces coming to all three schools in the fall.
 
Now-- I need to find a bakery!
 
 
 
CuCPS Highlights:
 
 

 

Motivational speaker Melvin Adams inspired summer school students, staff, and community members last Monday.

Events for the Week:
 
Monday-Thursday: Summer School
  • Monday
    • 1:30 Administrative Council Meeting
  • Tuesday
    • Region 8 Performance Based Assessment Workshop

Summer Reading for Educators

 
 
 
I am glad to report that we have students and staff back for Summer School. Last week, I saw many "getting to know you" activities and relevant hands-on learning taking place. From learning about simple machines through measuring how far a toy car went based on an incline to making 3D google glasses- I observed students having fun while learning. 
 
Summer learning is not just for students. Each summer, I establish a Summer Reading list for our faculty and staff.  This year I have selected a list of five books (some are reoccurring from previous lists):
 
 

Visible Learning for Teachers by John Hattie

 

Creating Innovators by Tony Wagner

Leaders of Their Own Learning by Ron Berger

 

Fair Isn't Always Equal by Rick Wormeli

 

6 Pillars of Dynamic Schools by Steven Edwards and Paul Chapman

CuCPS Highlights:

 
 
Events for the Week:
 
Summer School 2015: Monday-Thursday
  • Monday
    • 10:00 Melvin Adams, Motivational Speaker
    • 1:30 Administrative Council Meeting
 
Off-Season football practice starts on Monday June 15th from 5 - 7pm. Please bring proper work-out clothing with you. Cumberland Medical is still offering fall sports physicals for $35.  Parents must call to make the appointment, and will need to have all forms signed when the athlete comes for the appointment.
 

Summer Learning

 
Summer School begins today and I am eager to see the children. I have missed seeing their bright faces and hearing their laughter and conversations. Our students have many opportunities for fun and continued learning over the summer. Many are attending leadership academies/camps such as HOBY, Boys and Girls State, Governor's Youth Development, Governor's Summer Regional School, the Longwood TAG program, VT and UVA BLAST, the SVCC STEM Academy, etc. On Monday, June 15th, students, parents, and community members are invited to hear a motivational talk with former Harlem Globetrotter Melvin Adams. And let's not forget that students have summer reading.  Books were sent home with elementary and middle school students and the high school reading list can be found on the CHS school webpage. At CuCPS, there is no time for any type of learning decline during the summer!
 
CuCPS Highlights:
  • The Farmville Herald highlighted the CCES Children's Memorial Garden:  http://m.farmvilleherald.com/2015/06/memorial-gardens-dedicated-at-ces/
  • Congratulations to senior Annesha Harris -- She finished her high school career in grand fashion with three individual 'STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS' and two other top 5 finishes. Cumberland Athletics would like to thank Annesha for her hard work and dedication to the Cumberland athletic program, Annesha will always be remembered as one of the greatest athletes to walk the halls of Cumberland County Schools!
  • State Track Day 2 results:
    • Ebony Jones, Marya Elasha, Kyera Broxton and Annesha Harris- 4th place 4x400 Meter Relay
    • Tony Ford- 2nd place Boys 300 Hurdles (state runner-up)
    • Ebony Jones- 5th place Girls 400 Meters
    • Timothy Jackson- 2nd place Boys Discus (state runner-up )
    • Tony Ford- 5th place Boys Triple Jump
  • State Track Day 1 results:
    • Annesha Harris- 2015 State Long Jump Champion 18ft 5 1/2 inches (State Record ) 
    • Tony Ford- 3rd place Long Jump 
    • TJ Jackson- 7th place Boys Shot Put
    • Toniesha Ford- 3rd place Girls Discus
  • 2015 All-Conference 44 Teams
    • Tyler Shores, 2015 All-Conference 44 2nd Team Pitcher and Utility Player
    • Jacob Perry, 2015 All-Conference 44 1st Team Catcher
    • Brandon Leabough, 2015 All-Conference 44 1st Team Outfielder
    • Infinity Anderson, 2015 All-Conference 44 2nd Team Outfielder
    • John Bapties, 2015 All-Conference 44 2nd Team Defender
    • Matthew Bapties, 2015 All- Conference 44 2nd Team Midfielder
    • Colby White, 2015 All-Conference 44 1st Team Forward
    • John Gonzalez, 2015 All-Conference 44 1st Team Midfielder
  • Roof materials arrived for the roof replacement at CCES.
Events for the Week:
  • Monday
    • Summer School Begins
    • 7:00 June School Board Meeting
  • Tuesday
    • CCES Focus School Visit
    • 7:00 Board of Supervisors Meeting
  • Wednesday
    • 2:00 School Board Summer Work Session
Other Important Dates:
  • June 15:  Former Harlem Globetrotter & 2-time NCAA All-American Melvin Adams will have a motivational talk with students, parents and community members in the CHS Gym @ 10 a.m.
  • July 6 - 9:  The SVCC STEM Academy will take place in Keysville.  CHS has 62 slots for students from rising 9th  - 12th grades.  Transportation will be provided.
 

Celebrations, Recognition, and FUN!

 

 
Last week was filled with celebrations, recognition, and just plain FUN!  From Field Day and trips to Duke Fest, students and staff were able to enjoy time together. I have included some pictures; however, you can find pictures of many of the events on our Facebook and Instagram pages as well as on our website. Everyone have a wonderful and safe summer!
 

 

CuCPS Highlights:

  • First Lady of Virginia Dorothy McAuliffe visited Backpacks of Love last week to bring awareness and recognition to their efforts in providing food to children in need.
  • Congratulations to the Lady Dukes Track Team who are the 2015 JRD Champs, 2015 Conference 44 Champs, and 2015 1-A East Region Champs!

  • Coach Jasey:  2015 1- A East Region Coach of the year;
  • Annesha Harris: 2015 Female Athlete of the year; and
  • TJ Ford:  2015 Male athlete of the year!
Events of the Week:
  • Monday
    • 10:00 Administrative Council Meeting
  • Tuesday
    • CCES DLT Meeting
  • Friday
    • School Law Conference

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