Friday, January 31, 2020

Did you See the 2018-2019 IWCS Annual Report?

Before winter break, the 2018-2019 IWCS Annual Report was handed out to all students to take home to their parents. The purpose of this publication is to communicate the significant events and accomplishments of the past school year and to celebrate the students, staff, and community members who contributed to our success.  The report also highlights examples of deeper learning opportunities taking place in our schools.  At Georgie D. Tyler Middle, students launched a project to curb the use of plastic straws. Their commitment to this goal resulted in the division switching to paper straws and only providing straws to students upon request. Windsor High students created a Kindness Wall in their school as a place to share positive messages of love and support. They realized the importance of word choice in promoting practical change among their peers. Carrollton Elementary students partnered with the local animal shelter to raise awareness of unwanted and abandoned animals. These are a very small sample of the incredible work our students are accomplishing at all division schools and in all grade levels.

Also featured in the report are the new spaces and facilities that opened last school year which further our vision of creating learning environments that will allow every child to discover his or her unique gifts and talents. A beautiful barn and classroom building were added to the Land Lab. We opened a dedicated building for the JROTC program, funded by a generous three million dollar donation from Smithfield Foods. We also completely renovated a facility at Smithfield High to create a new Career Building, which houses nursing, welding, manufacturing, a MakerSpace lab, engineering, a mechatronics lab, and culinary arts. The spaces are outfitted with industry-standard equipment to provide students with authentic work experience opportunities.  All of these are featured in the report.

Everyday we have students and staff members demonstrating GREAT citizenship (growth, respect, empathy, accountability, trustworthiness) and GRIT (gumption, resiliency, integrity, tenacity). Throughout the document, you will see many examples of GREAT and GRIT from
last school year. I am proud of the dedication and commitment from our schools to develop
meaningful learning experiences to ensure our students are college, career, and life-ready.
I hope you enjoy the report and perhaps learn a little more about Isle of Wight County

If you didn't get a copy of the report, please contact your child's school.  Until then, you can enjoy the digital version by clicking on the link below.

2018-2019 IWCS Annual Report (link)

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Thank You to our School Principals!

This week is Principal Appreciation Week, one of the many Appreciation weeks where we celebrate a group of individuals for their work in education. Let me be the first to say that I am a big fan of our school administrators.  Their days are filled from beginning to end...and usually it's difficult to know when they end.

They serve as the Instructional Leader in their building, which means they are responsible for how content is shared with every child in every classroom.  They supervise a school full of employees, from teachers, to nurses, to instructional assistants.  They ensure students and staff have a safe and secure environment in which to work and to learn.  They support student growth and success in academics and in life skills.  Principals and Assistant Principals realize their plan for the day can quickly change based on the type of day one of their students is having.  They stay late to address the emails, phone calls, and paperwork they were unable to get to during the day.  They go home exhausted, many times without even eating lunch, and often take with them more unfinished work they hope to tackle.

So why do they do it?  For the same reason as teachers and others in education--they love their students.  All of their students.  And they appreciate their employees.  They know that they are the main champion for every child in their building, and for every one of their staff members.  They accept that responsibility and are rewarded with hugs, smiling faces, thank yous, and other little gifts.  Usually these expressions of gratitude come at just the right time and make a difficult day not so difficult.

We wanted to give our principals a big Thank You and let them know that we appreciate them every week, not just this one.  But it is a good time to publicly acknowledge all that they do and to tell them how glad we are that they chose to work in Isle of Wight County.

We created a special video for our principals so they could hear from their staff, students, and parents who share how much their principal means to them.  I encourage you to share your own message of appreciation with your child's principal and assistant principals during this week, and any time throughout the school year.  As Mother Teresa noted, Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”  

We Appreciate Our Principals! (Video)