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School Board approves budget; please continue to advocate for state funding

At its Feb. 22 special meeting, the School Board approved a $913.7 million balanced operating budget for FY 2025. The approved budget mirrors the proposed budget presented by Superintendent Mervin B. Daugherty. In the superintendent’s proposed budget, he identified $17.4 million in unfunded priorities that should be considered if more funding becomes available. After receiving public input, the School Board included additional priorities on this unfunded list including

  • $4.5 million for annual substitutes
  • $1 million for additional school counselors (to eliminate shared counselors at elementary schools)
  • $684,000 for bilingual liaisons in nine additional schools

Here is a list of all the unfunded priorities that will be considered if additional funding becomes available

The school system’s budget reflects a commitment to continued educational excellence and addresses three sets of priorities:

  • Compensation and required increases: Providing a 4% salary increase to employees and allowing for increased costs for services and state-mandated increases 
  • Maintaining service levels: Continuing the quality education and support services our community values
  • Additional needs: Addressing other needed items for schools based on final state revenue numbers
  • See all of the budget materials presented at the Feb. 22 School Board meeting.

Through this video message, Dr. Daugherty encourages families and staff to advocate for state funding for schools by reaching out to state legislators. It is imperative to let them know that more state funding is needed. Find out who your legislators are by clicking here.

Work where you make a big difference

Chesterfield County Public Schools is hiring for summer programs and for critical needs areas. Questions? Call 804-748-1984 or email careers@ccpsnet.net.

  • Teachers in critical needs areas

Chesterfield County Public Schools is holding a virtual job fair seeking teachers in critical needs areas. Highly qualified candidates in these areas are encouraged to apply by Feb. 28 to be considered for an interview: library, math, chemistry, biology, earth and space science, middle school science, special education, ESL, English, language arts, reading specialists and elementary education. 

  • Summer school jobs

Chesterfield County Public Schools is hiring for hundreds of summer school jobs. Summer school will run June 24-July 18 (Monday-Thursday). This flyer offers details about summer jobs. If you are interested, go to bit.ly/CCPSjobs to apply for:

  • Summer school principals
  • Building liaisons
  • PK-12 teachers (general and special education, ESL, substitutes) and extended day teachers (PE, music, art, world language, STEAM)
  • Librarians
  • Counselors
  • Testing coordinators
  • Instructional aides (general and special education)
  • Secretaries
  • Nurses (RNs and LPNs)
  • Clinic assistants
  • Security monitors
  • Transportation
  • Food services

A ceiling full of books

Rachel Nordgaard uses ceiling tiles to encourage Gates Elementary students to read and share books. Watch this video to learn about her innovative approach and how it connects with Open Court Reading.

Veterinary science program to expand

Monacan High and the Health Professions and Therapies Specialty Center will house a new veterinary science program that will open to students in 2026. 

Veterinary science is currently offered at both campuses of the Chesterfield Career and Technical Center, but both sites consistently have long waiting lists. Adding a third site will help Chesterfield County Public Schools meet student demand, which in turn will help meet marketplace demand in this growing field. Each veterinary science program enrolls 40 students each school year.

A $500,000 grant that the Chesterfield Education Foundation received from the Community Foundation will initially fund the program expansion. The four-year grant will cover planning, renovation of an existing classroom, setup and curriculum preparation.

Watch ‘The Disruptors’: Film series begins on Tuesday

Reserve your free tickets for “The Disruptors,” which will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 27 in the CTC@Hull auditorium. The film explores attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, which is one of the most commonly diagnosed and widely misunderstood neurological conditions in the world, affecting nearly 10% of children and a rising number of adults. But what if having an ADHD brain is actually an asset? A growing number of innovators, entrepreneurs, CEOs, Olympic athletes and award-winning artists have recently disclosed that their ADHD, managed effectively, has played a vital role in their success. “The Disruptors” hears from many of those game-changing people about their ADHD, debunks harmful myths and takes viewers inside a number of families as they navigate living with ADHD.

Reserve your free tickets for “Split Up,” which will be shown at 6:30 p.m. March 5 in the CTC@Hull auditorium. The 50-minute film features a dozen teens looking back at childhoods marked by divorce. “Split Up” is a practical and emotional roadmap for teens and young adults navigating divorce — and a cautionary tale for divorcing parents. The film gives us the teens' perspective on divorce: no adults, no experts, just teens speaking the powerful truth of what is on their minds and in their hearts as they reflect on their family situation. Their wisdom, candor and humor give courage to other children and encourage parents to make better choices as they move through divorce.

Chesterfield County Public Schools will host a free screenings of documentary films for families and educators on these Tuesdays: 

  • “The Disruptors” on Feb. 27 
  • “Split Up” on March 5
  • “Anxious Nation” on March 12
  • “Deej” on March 26

Organized by the Office of Family and Community Engagement, the FACE FWD film series will explore cultural competency, social-emotional development and adolescent support. Tickets are free, but reservations are required via Eventbrite for each of the four films. Each film will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Career and Technical Center @ Hull, 13900 Hull Street Road, Midlothian, VA 23112.

School Board seeks ideas for new school name

The new west area middle school needs a name! Chesterfield County Public Schools broke ground in August 2023 on the district’s 13th middle school. The Chesterfield County School Board is seeking the community’s input in naming the new school. Chesterfield County residents are invited to suggest names via bit.ly/WAMSname no later than Feb. 28.

Residents are asked to keep these things in mind:

  • Under School Board Policy 6160, the board has the authority to name schools 
  • and school facilities.
  • The names of most schools that have opened in the past 20 years have geographic connections but not specific neighborhood names. This helps ensure all students feel connected to their school.
  • Absent extraordinary circumstances, School Board Policy 6160 states that schools cannot be named after living individuals and any person for whom a school is named must have been dead at least 10 years.

At the conclusion of the submission period, the school division will work with PTA leaders at Tomahawk Creek Middle School to narrow suggestions to three names. The top choices will be announced in April, then additional public comment will be sought on these possible names. The School Board is expected to vote May 14 on the school name.

The new middle school is being built on Westerleigh Parkway in the Matoaca District. Construction is well underway, and the school is scheduled to open in August 2025. It will primarily help relieve overcrowding at Tomahawk Creek Middle. School attendance zones will be discussed in the coming months.

Intellectual disabilities is topic of Feb. 28 Coffee & Conversation

A virtual Coffee & Conversation discussion will focus on intellectual disabilities. The Family and Community Engagement Office of Chesterfield County Public Schools will host the free webinar 1-2 p.m. Feb. 28, and a representative of Chesterfield Mental Health will be the featured speaker. Click here to register and to see upcoming Coffee & Conversation topics.

Solving problems as quickly as possible

Everyone within Chesterfield County Public Schools works to support students and help them grow into strong young people. When problems arise that get in the way of learning, schools want to connect with students and families to solve those problems. 

But we can only solve problems that we know about, so communicating to school staff members is how problem-solving starts.

When parents have a concern, the best path is to begin with the adults most directly involved in your student’s school life: teachers, school counselors, coaches, assistant principals and principals. Most problems can be solved by connecting with one or more of these professionals. If the first school employee is unable to resolve the situation, then this chart shows the next step to take. (It may be tempting to jump over steps, post on social media or contact a news organization, but those actions will not be as helpful for your student as following this problem-solving process.)

Stay current with CCPS

Here are ways to stay up to date with Chesterfield County students, staff members and schools:

Upcoming dates

Families can now apply for prekindergarten, CCPSOnline and Chesterfield Virtual School

  • Prekindergarten serves 4-year-olds with the greatest need, helping them prepare for kindergarten. Applications are being accepted now for the 2024-25 school year. This webpage has details and links to the application form in English and in Spanish. A limited number of prekindergarten spots are available at these sites:
    • Chester Early Childhood Learning Academy serving Bellwood, Bensley, Beulah, Marguerite Christian, Curtis, Ecoff, Enon, Gates, Harrowgate, Salem Church, Elizabeth Scott and Wells elementary schools

    • Bon Air, Davis, Chalkley, Crenshaw, Crestwood, Ettrick, Evergreen, Falling Creek, Greenfield, Hening, Hopkins, Jacobs Road, Matoaca, Providence and Reams Road elementary schools

  • CCPSOnline classes are open to students in grades 9-12. With learning available 24/7 in a no-bells, no-limits virtual environment, the flexibility of CCPSOnline classes can help high school students create the schedule they want. Act now to take advantage of this Chesterfield County Public Schools opportunity:

  • Chesterfield Virtual School is open for Chesterfield County students in grades K-8. As Virginia’s first virtual school, the Chesterfield Virtual School provides the opportunity to learn with teachers from across the country and students from all over Chesterfield County. The Chesterfield Virtual School works for students who are self-sufficient and self-driven. School days begin at 7:45 a.m. with morning meetings. Before students are dismissed for the day at 2:15 p.m., teachers cover all core academic subjects. After-school clubs offer additional connections for students. The Chesterfield Virtual School also offers gifted instruction, honors classes, special education and ESL. 

Hall of Fame to induct six outstanding educators

The Chesterfield County Public Schools Hall of Fame is inducting six new members in recognition of their outstanding accomplishments in support of students and schools.

The school system is built on the talents of outstanding teachers, educational and operational support staff members, leaders and volunteers. Their abilities and dedication are why Chesterfield County Public Schools — the largest school division in central Virginia — is a nationally recognized, award-winning school system. These memorable educators are being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2024:

  • Jim Alberston, teacher and coach
  • Betsy Stark Barton, teacher and history specialist
  • Joann Crowell-Redd, principal and director of human resources
  • Donna Dalton, chief academic officer
  • Patricia Lancaster, teacher and administrator
  • Sandra Silvestre, teacher

The new honorees will be inducted April 11 during the Hall of Fame Gala, presented by the Chesterfield Education Foundation in partnership with TowneBank. The gala is open to the public; tickets can be purchased at bit.ly/24CCPSfame for $65. Proceeds from the Hall of Fame Gala will support MEGA Mentors. The six new honorees will join previous Hall of Fame inductees, who are featured in this digital gallery.

Transition University offers info for special education families and professionals

The Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center is offering a free, self-paced course to help make transition planning easier. The five-session online course is designed for parents and caregivers of elementary, middle or high school students who receive special education services and the professionals who support them. 

Register for the course at this link. The course began Feb. 12 but it is not too late to register because all modules are available through April 8. Topics include:

  • What do we mean by transition and why is it important?
  • Supported decision making, power of attorney, guardianship and age of majority
  • Future planning including special needs trust, ABLE accounts and letters of intent
  • Transitioning into independent living (employment, further education, housing, etc.)
  • Connecting to your community and adult services (waivers, SSI, VR, etc.)

The goal of Transition University is to share factual information on transition services and to help make the transition from school services to the adult services world less confusing. Participants who complete the course will receive a certificate of completion for 7.5 hours.

When individuals with disabilities turn 18

Turning 18 is an important milestone for all individuals. When an individual turns 18, he or she can make the legal, financial, medical and educational decisions in their life. For some individuals with disabilities, additional adult support may be required. This Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center resource document will guide you through considerations when your child becomes an adult.

Video guide and other resources for families of students in special education

  • Guide to special education: Available from the Virginia Department of Education is the Virginia Family's Guide to Special Education. The department developed this new guide to help those involved in special education, whether as families, teachers, school administrators, advocates or students. Meeting the needs of children with disabilities requires an understanding of rights and responsibilities, which include the child’s rights and the school’s responsibilities to meet their needs. This guide includes a description of the special education process and what is required during each step of that process. The guide is currently available in English; translations will soon be available in Spanish, Arabic, Amharic, Urdu and Vietnamese.
  • New video guide: The Virginia Department of Education has released a video guide to the special education evaluation process. These video modules provide parents, families and other stakeholders a brief but comprehensive overview of the special education process on these topics: introduction to video series, identification, evaluation, eligibility, individualized education program, reevaluation, early intervention and what’s next. Each module is designed to be viewed as a stand-alone resource or viewed in succession. 
  • Website: Lots of helpful information is available on the special education for families webpage of the Virginia Department of Education.