Amy Griffin's Blog

Student Ownership and Voice

Student ownership of the school experience is critical to healthy and authentic learning for our students. I have seen more and more student ownership and voice at CuCPS.  CHS elected their student councils with the middle school preparing to add a student leadership council in the next several weeks. Students are taking control of their school environment with delivering breakfasts to middle school classrooms, landscaping around the campus, and assisting in the middle school media center. The Superintendent Student Panel is preparing to meet in September and there is always the Duke Leaders at the elementary school. I look forward to seeing more student voice during classroom instruction, in the new Maker Spaces, and during our D21 Strategic Planning.  It is important to listen to our children and look at learning and the school experience through their eyes.
CuCPS Highlights:
  • Tiara Butler participates in 4H Citizenship Program:
  • Congratulations to the CHS 2015-2016 SGA & Class Officers
    • SGA: President-Kaylah Paras; Vice President-Preston Sutton; Secretary-Sunnie Trieble; Treasurer-Trevon Foster
    • Senior Class: President-Tina Eubank; Vice President-Hannah King; Secretary-Melissa Gilliam; Treasurer-Marya Elasha
    • Junior Class: President--Riley Giles; Vice President-John Jefferies; Secretary-Shakiera Branch; Treasurer-Zion Salmon
    • Sophomore Class: President-Chris Allen; Vice President-Olivia Sims; Secretary-Ty-Esha Hatcher; Treasurer-A’Mia Booker
    • Freshman Class: President- Alivia Hanvey; Vice President-Brandon White; Secretary-Abigail Heath; Treasurer-Cole Fillman
  • The CHS Golf Team played well in a match against Central and Nottoway in Crewe. Scores were: Chase Grubbs (37), Dylan Stimpson (57), Coleman Phillips (59), Melissa Gilliam (59), Tyler Kingsley (64), & Mason Ludgate (67).
  • Cross County Results:
    • Boys Results
      • Hunter Cochran,4th 
      • Devon Reid, 7th 
      • Randolph-Henry-18, Amelia-57, Cumberland- 97, Goochland-0. 
    • Girls Results
      • Ebony Jones, 4th
      • Marya Elasha, 11th
      • 1st Randolph-Henry, 2nd Cumberland, 3rd Amelia.
  • The CHS Football team beat Charles City, 22-8!
  • Middle and High School teams participated in the following scrimmages:
    • Middle School and JV Volleyball at New Life School 
    • CMS Football and Appomattox
  • Check out the Farmville Herald for the following:
  • Message from the CCES Team WIN:  MARK YOUR CALENDARS! SEPTEMBER 10TH FROM 3PM-7:30PM, we will be cleaning out and PAINTING the walls of the 3rd and 4th Grade Pod areas! We need lots of helping hands (children can help, too!). Wear old clothes! You can come anytime in that time frame and stay as long as you can! TOGETHER we can get these last 2 Pods done for our students!
Events for the Week:
  • Tuesday
    • Administrative Council Meeting (12:00 noon)
CuCPS will be closed on Monday, September 7, 2015, for the Labor Day Holiday.
Plan to attend the D21 Forum on September 16, 2015:

Holding Nothing Back!

2015 Senior Banner
With two weeks of school under our belts, our students are busy learning, networking, and participatings in a multitude of events.   Athletic scrimmages have begun; clubs and after school activities are underway; and students and staff are deep into learning. It has been wonderful to see everyone back at school-- happy and eager to learn!
CuCPS Highlights:
Events for the Week:
  • Monday
    • CCES Division-Grade Level Data Meetings
  • Tuesday
    • CMS Division-Grade Level Data Meetings
  • Wednesday
    • CHS Division-Department Data Meetings

The Cumberland Ten

L to R: Ernestine Jones, LaVerne Reid, Rosalind Gilliam, Rev. Kern Gilliam, Gwen Lipscomb, Lamont Reid (eldest child of the late Samuel Reid), Yetta Gilliam, Rev. Robert Jones  (Not pictured: Shirley White and the late Gloria Washington).
The 2015-2016 school year marks the 50th Anniversary of integration at Cumberland County Public Schools. In 1965, eleven years after the Brown v. the Board of Education decision, ten young black students were chosen through the NAACP and collaboration of the parents to leave Luther P. Jackson School and integrate the all white schools. These ten children and their families through bravery, courage, and determination took this giant step and paved the way for generations of students. Without these ten individuals, Cumberland County Public Schools would not be what it is today- a family culture of awareness, love, and respect of our similarities and differences.  On behalf of Cumberland County Public Schools, I would like to thank the Cumberland Ten for their strength, humility and sacrifice:
  • Rev. Kern Gilliam
  • Rosalind Gilliam
  • Yetta Gilliam
  • Ernestine Jones
  • Rev. Robert Jones
  • Gwendolyn Lipscomb
  • Lavern Reid
  • Samuel Reid*
  • Gloria Washington*
  • Shirley White
On Sunday, August 9, 2015, I attended the Homecoming Service at Sharon Baptist Church.  Eight of the Cumberland Ten were members of Sharon. During this service, the youth of the church paid tribute and honored the Cumberland Ten. It was an honor and humbling experience for me. The importance of what these ten children did for future generations of students and for the educational system of Cumberland County is incomparable, amazing, and inspirational.  
"If we forget our history, we will tend to repeat it"  -- or take the present for granted.
* Deceased
CuCPS Highlights:
Events of the Week:
  • Monday
    • 1:00 Insurance Open Enrollment Meeting (Support Staff)
    • 3:30  Insurance Open Enrollment Meeting (Teachers and Administrators)
Don't forget to take our D21 Strategic Planning Survey at or at and plan to attend the D21 Forum on September 16, 2015, at 7:00 p.m.  More information on the Forum can be found at…/…/item/254-strategic-plan-forum.

Is Cumberland Future Ready?

Welcome to the 2015-2016 school year! 
The CuCPS family has an important mission: to prepare each and every student to be successful learners, workers, and citizens.  In order to do so, our students and division must be Future Ready.  To ensure this purpose is achieved, we are in the process of developing a long-term strategic plan that charts where the division is going. This plan will serve as the vision that will help the school system grow and prosper, inspire a love of learning in all students, and support creativity and innovation.  The plan will focus on five areas:
  • Student engagement
  • Balanced assessment
  • Achievement for all students
  • School and community partnerships
  • Enhances resources
In order to develop this strategic plan, the school division needs to hear from all stakeholders, including students, staff, parents, and community members. Over the next several months, we will be seeking input through focus groups, visiting with civic groups, and with the following survey: or at  Please take the time to review our D21 Strategic Plan video and complete the D21 Survey. A special thanks goes to CHS student Holly Tillett for producing the video.
In addition, we are hosting a D21 Forum on Wednesday, September 16, 2015, from 7:00-8:00 p.m. in the CMS/CHS Cafetorium. The forum will consist of a panel of experts in current and future education and workforce trends. The panel includes:
  • Workforce:  Debra Crowder, Executive Director of Area 8 of Workforce Development
  • Technology:  Paula Leach, Director of the Longwood Institute for Teaching Through Technology and Innovative Practices
  • School Facilities and Learning Spaces:  Roger Richardson, Principal Architect with BCWH
  • Education and Flexible Learning Environments:  Ira Socol, Assistant Director of Education Technology at Albemarle County Public Schools
Please join us at the D21 Forum!
Coming Next Week:  Learn about the Cumberland Ten!
CuCPS Highlights:
Events for the Week:
  • Monday
    • First Day of School
    • August School Board Meeting
    • Final Writing Sample Checklist/Rubric Due (K-8)
  • Tuesday
    • Board of Supervisors Meeting

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
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 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:
  • 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
  • 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!