Amy Griffin's Blog

Innovation: What Matters Most?

This is how some 6th graders spend their lunchtime!
I was fortunate to attend EdLeader21 2015 where I was able to learn from experts in 21st Century learning and assessment as well as network with educators across the nation. Tony Wagner began with the Keynote challenging us to create innovative schools and districts. He reminds us that we are living in a radically different world and that in an Innovative Economy, employers do not want employees that can regurgitate content, but are more interested in what employees can do-- those who can deal with complex problems and both lead and follow. He urges educators to move from:
  • Individual achievement to collaboration--  Innovation is a team sport. Isolation is the enemy of improvement and innovation.
  • Compartmentalized knowledge-- Innovation happens outside of boundaries. Students must be able to solve multidisciplinary problems.
  • Consumption of knowledge to creativity and production of knowledge.
  • Thinking failure, making mistakes, is a bad thing-- Innovation comes from trial and error. He urges us to rethink grading practices.
  • Cultivating extrinsic motivation to more intrinsic motivation where students are producing work worth doing.
Tony Wagner concluded that content mattersskills matter more; and motivation matters most! It was an extremely powerful message followed by a movie screening of the film, Most Likely to Succeed.


CuCPS Highlights:

Events for the Week:

  • Wednesday
    • CMS Data Meetings
    • 7:00 Strategic Plan Advisory Committee Meeting
  • Thursday
    • CHS Data Meetings
CuCPS will be closed for students on Monday, October 12, 2105, for a Professional Development Day for CuCPS faculty and staff.
CuCPS teacher Myrna Barr pictured at the Longwood University STEM Summit with Don Wettrick, author of Pure Genius.

Amazing Students!

Our students never cease to amaze me.  From placing in the Eastern Region FFA Agriscience Fair, becoming the 2015 Conference 42 Golf Champion and Conference MVP, to raising money for the Lonesome Dove Equestrian Center-- our students continue to show how coming from a small community and school division doesn't stop them from being the best among their peers and contributing to causes beyond school walls.
In preparation for developing the six year strategic plan, I spoke with students last week from all three schools about the future of CuCPS. We discussed how they best learn; how they best show what they know; and what additional resources they would like to see for CuCPS. Student overwhelmingly reported that they learn and show what they know best through projects, presentations, and hands-on learning. As far as enhanced resources, they want to see more playground equipment at CCES, laptops versus tablets at CHS, a boys volleyball team, and VHSL tennis teams (just to name a few of their suggestions).
As always, speaking with our students and reflecting on their accomplishments reminds me of my purpose and why I do what I do. 
CuCPS Highlights:
  • Welcome Command Sergeant Major (CSM) Dwayne Tigs as the new Assistant Instructor for the CHS JROTC.
  • Jordan Newman, an 8th grade student at Cumberland Middle School, competed in the Eastern Region FFA Agriscience Fair in Springfield, Massachusetts. Jordan's research project titled "Whose Lambs Grew the Most" had previously placed first at the Virginia State FFA convention in the Animal Science division. Jordan placed 4th in the competition earning him a Silver award. Jordan plans to continue his research project next year. This was his first year as a member of the newly re-established Cumberland FFA. He will be competing in the State Fair of Virginia with his market lambs.

Events for the Week:

  • Monday
    • CCES Data Meetings
  • Tuesday
    • Career Interest Workshop (6:30 pizza; 7:00 Workshop)
  • Wednesday
  • Thursday
    • Senior Parent Night (6:00 p.m.)
  • Friday
    • Walk for Education

D21 Forum: A Success!

PreK Friends Parade
Last Wednesday, we hosted the D21 Forum on current and future tends in education, workforce, technology, learning environments, and facilities. I would like to thank panel members Debra Crowder from the Workforce Investment Board, Ira Socol from Albemarle County Public Schools, Roger Richardson from architecture firm BCWH, and Paula Leach from Longwood's ITTIP.  The panelists provided valuable information and insight to assist us in our strategic planning process. 
Also, I would like to thank CHS student Holly Tillett for moderating the event along with seniors Sharita Brown and D’Lisha Ridley (under the leadership of Mrs. Dawson) for providing refreshments. We hosted a quality event for our community.
Other aspects of the strategic planning process include administration visiting and seeking input from civic organizations and stakeholder focus groups being hosted this week. 
We are committed to serving our community by producing students that are productive learners, workers, and citizens and individuals everyone can be proud of!
3rd Grade Simple Machine Projects
CuCPS Highlights:
  • CHS Students of the Week (9/15) are: Ashlee Johnson (12th), Brittny Price (11th), Darron Ridley (10th), & Ricky Clark (9th).

  • Congratulations to Leighann Simms!…/…/sims-brings-home-ribbons/

  • Backpacks of Love, Inc. successfully delivered over 400 weekend backpacks to school children in Powhatan, Cumberland and Buckingham County. 

Events for the Week:
  • Monday
    • 10:00 Strategic Planning Parent Focus Group
    • 3:30  Strategic Planning Staff Focus Group
    • 7:00 Strategic Planning Parent Focus Group
  • Wednesday
    • 10:00 CCES Supt. Student Panel/Strategic Planning Focus Group
    • 11:30 CMS Supt. Student Panel/Strategic Planning Focus Group
    • 2:00 CHS Supt. Student Panel/Strategic Planning Focus Group
    • 7:00 Capital Improvement Plan Advisory Committee Meeting
  • Thursday
    • Volleyball Game against Nottoway (Fundraiser for Wounded Warriors)

CHS Students Impress!

Saturday evening, I attended the annual Cumberland American Legion Banquet.  The Post recognizes students that the members financially send to Boys and Girls State while the students share their experiences and voice their appreciation for this once in a life time opportunity. This year was extra special with the Legion sending six students from Cumberland High School to State. I was impressed, along with others in attendance, at the poise and confidence in which our students spoke and the gratitude that they expressed. Concluding the banquet, Post Commander Junie Jamerson emotionally shared how impressed he was with our students. I couldn't have agreed more!  We are fortunate to have civic organizations and community members that support our students. Also, it was wonderful for community members to see what great student leaders we have at CuCPS!
PreKindergarten students learn about the letter M with mustaches!
Don't forget to vote for CMS student Dylan Myers daily on Facebook at this link:
CCES Bubble Party
CuCPS Highlights:


  • Athletic News:
    • Congratulations to the following middle school students for their performance in the 2-mile cross country run: 1st place: Trevor Dayton; 2nd place: Elijah Rundstrom.
    • The Boys & Girls Cross Country Teams had a meet in Prince Edward this week. The result were: Boys score: 1st Goochland 15, 2nd Prince Edward 103, 3rd Cumberland 109, 4th Buckingham 119. Girls score: 1st Goochland 25, 2nd Buckingham 58, 3rd Prince Edward 65, 4th Cumberland = Not Enough Runners To Score. Ebony Jones finished in 4th place. Great job, Duke Runners!
    • The JV and Varsity Volleyball Teams played very well against the Amelia Lady Raiders. The JVs lost 2-1 (25-22, 6-25, 3-15) and the Varsity Ladies won in 4 sets (22-25, 26-24, 25-21, 25-22). 
    • Cumberland Middle School defeated Randolph Henry MS in 3 sets 25-17 25-17 25-20.
    • Seniors Coleman Phillips and Melissa Gilliam were recognized at Golf Senior Night.
    • CHS Varsity Volleyball defeated Amelia 3-1; JV lost 2-1.
    • Cross County Match Pictures:
Prekindergarten learns about the letter M with manicures!
Events for the Week:
  • Monday
    • 5:30  Strategic Plan presentation to the CuCPS Foundation
    • 7:00 Strategic Plan presentation to the Farm Bureau
    • 7:00  School Board Meeting
  • Tuesday
    • 6:00  Algebra I and II Family Math Night
  • Wednesday
    • Administrative Council Meeting
    • 7:00 Strategic Plan (D21) Forum
  • Thursday
    • CHS Academic Review PD 
  • Friday
    • Home Varsity Football Game
CCES Team WIN begins 3rd and 4th Grade Pod Make-Overs.

CuCPS Needs YOU!

CMS Famous Mathematician Presentation
We are in the process of developing a re-imaged and revitalized 2015-2021 Strategic Plan for Cumberland County Public Schools. We are asking for input in five areas:
  • Student engagement
  • Balanced assessment
  • Achievement for all students
  • School and community partnerships
  • Enhanced resources
On Wednesday, September 16th, will be hosting a D21 Forum from 7:00-8:00 p.m. in the CMS/CHS Cafetorium. We hope that students, parents, staff, and community members will come and learn about the current and future trends in education, technology, learning environments, and facilities from a panel of experts in their field. This important information will help us in developing our plan for the future of our schools and community. Culinary arts students will be providing refreshments. More information can be found at
We will also be hosting the following focus groups:
  • Parent: Monday, September 21, at 10:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.
  • Staff:  Monday, September 21, at 3:30 p.m.
  • Student:  Wednesday, September 23, 2015.


CMS Famous Mathematician Presentation
CuCPS Highlights:
  • The window has opened to begin daily voting for CMS student Dylan Myers in the Mini Babybel Dream Contest. He is one of three finalist nationwide. Please vote daily:
  • Congratulations to Mr. Hamilton for being named WFLO Teacher of the Week! He will receive a check in the amount of $100 from Delegate James Edmonds' office.
  • CHS Students of the Month and Week:
    • CHS September Student of the Month--Sundina Trieble!
    • CHS September Students of the Week--David Diming (12th), Gracie Talbert (11th), Roger Garrison (10th), & Eric Suchomelly (9th).
  • Sports News:
    • The Middle School Volleyball Team defeated Amelia 2-0.
    • The JV Lady Dukes played Goochland in very close matches, but lost 2-1. The Varsity Lady Dukes had competitive matches against the Lady Bulldogs, but came up short 3-0.
    • The CHS Golf Team had an away match in Appomattox. The team finished in 3rd place. The Dukes scores were: Chase Grubbs (42), Dustin Clark (51, Coleman Phillips (54), Tyler Kingsley (59), and Mason Ludgate (70).
    • The CHS Boys Cross Country Team had their home match. The Girls Team was unable to run due to the weather. Matthew Bapties (1st) and Jared Halvorsen (2nd) led the boys team to a 2nd place finish behind Randolph Henry.
    • The CHS Golf Team played well during their home match at the Farmville Golf Course. The team lowered their scores by 15 strokes and had a team best score of 197. The Dukes were led by: Chase Grubbs (49), Dylan Stimpson (51), Coleman Phillips (53), Dustin Clark (53), Tyler Kingsley (65) & Tyler Ludgate (67). Great job, Duke Golfers!
  • Check out the following in the Farmville Herald


Events for the Week:
September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month!
  • Tuesday
    • 9:00  Administrative Staff PD with Lisa Meyers
    • 7:00 Board of Supervisors Meeting
  • Wednesday
  • Thursday
    • Interims Home
    • Grandparents Day at CCES
    • 7:00 D21 Presentation to Cartersville Ruritans
  • Friday
    • Home Varsity Football Game:  Military Appreciation Night

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
  • Enhanced 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!