Superintendent’s Message, February 2016

February is a great month to say “Thank You”.

The month of February is packed with recognitions and acknowledgements.   As educators, we give thanks in February for the many contributions of school board members, school board clerks and school counselors.

At the February School Board meeting, in addition to receiving a certificate of appreciation from the school division, our board members were provided gifts and acknowledgements from each of our schools and division staff.  Dr. Rebecca Broaddus, our school board clerk, was also recognized with a certificate and gift from the board for her service to the school division.  Additionally, the school board will be treated to a lunch in their honor at Caroline Middle School on Thursday, February 25, 2016.

Along with recognizing our school board and clerk, our school counselors were recognized this month for their contributions to the school division and students of CCPS.  Our counselors play a tremendous role in improving the climate and culture of our schools.  They work with teachers, parents, social workers, and many others to advance the academic, career and social objectives of the school organization.  So much so, I often tell counselors that the school counseling program is in many ways just as important as the instructional program of a school.

School counselors encourage the development of many of the interpersonal skills that students need to be successful, such as self-regulation, resilience and empathy and conflict resolution.  Additionally, when we speak of our schools being a safe haven for students, we know that our counselors are an integral part of providing that environment.

If you haven’t taken a moment to thank our board members or a school counselor this month, please do so.  They are an integral part of our team and deserve your acknowledgement.

Black History Month

In addition to the above, February is the month that we celebrate Black History throughout the country.  While this month is known as Black History Month; many in the African American community consider this month as simply acknowledging the contributions of men and women of African descent in the development of the greatest nation on earth.

Therefore, I appreciate your efforts to educate your students on the contributions of African Americans and more importantly, their roles in shaping the society in which we all live and benefit from today.

All schools and staff are congratulated for hosting events, morning announcements, book-talks, and other engaging events for students.

Superintendent’s Message, January 2016

I hope that your winter break provided an opportunity for a well-deserved rest. For many, the new year marks a new beginning for those who are planning either to make a change in their lives or circumstances. We label such decisions as new year’s resolutions. It is interesting to know that when used in the context of a new year’s resolution, by definition the word “resolution” means a firm decision to do or not do something.

Having made and broken many resolutions in the past, I find this definition to be very interesting. As I reflect on my broken resolutions, I recall that many were not resolutions (by definition) at all. In actuality, I now would classify those commitments as personal goals, such as losing weight, saving money, or taking a long trip. In retrospect, I now understand why these kind of commitments were the hardest to fulfill. A personal goal simply does not bind or commit you to make a specific or actionable change regarding something that you currently are doing or should be doing.

This year, take a second look at your new year’s resolutions and ask yourself, “Does this resolution commit me to make a firm decision to do or not do something? Does it change my actions in anyway?” If the answer is no, consider digging a little deeper. While losing 20 pounds is an important life change for the new year, committing yourself to checking your weight daily or restricting your daily sugar intake may be more tangible objectives to focus on first.

Enjoy yourselves, stay healthy, and let’s be there for our kids!!!

Note: You may access Dr. Parker’s Post-Entry Plan to the community, at About Dr. Parker.

Family Involvement in Education Month

I am pleased to announce that Governor Terrace R. McAuliffe and the Virginia Board of Education signed Certificates of Recognition proclaiming November 2015 as Family Involvement in Education Month.

Family Involvement in Education Month provides and opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of family involvement in a child’s education from Pre-Kindergarten to 12th grade and beyond. A strong partnership between educators and families is necessary for our children to achieve in school and become productive citizens.

Lets all do our part this month and beyond to create opportunities for families to support our efforts in fostering a love of learning in every student in Caroline County. Please visit www.doe.virginia.gov/families/ for resources and ideas to improve family involvement.

Together, we can change the life of a child!

Superintendent’s Message, September 2015

While our attention this month might vary from celebrating the beginning of fall sports to recognizing the sacrifices of those who suffered on September 11, 2001, this month officially marks the start of school for hundreds of school districts across the nation. Therefore; it is appropriate that the month of September has been designated as School Attendance Awareness Month.

Across the country, as many as 7.5 million students miss nearly a month of school every year—absences that can correlate with poor performance at every grade level. This trend starts as early as kindergarten and continues through high school, contributing to achievement gaps and ultimately to dropout rates.

This year CCPS will join school divisions around the country and recognizing September as Attendance Awareness Month, part of a nationwide movement intended to convey the message that every school day counts.

We cannot afford to think of absenteeism as simply an administrative matter. Good attendance is central to student achievement and our broader efforts to improve schools. All of our investments in curriculum and instruction won’t amount to much if students aren’t showing up to benefit from them.

Problems with absenteeism start surprisingly early: National research shows that one in 10 kindergarten and first-grade students are chronically absent, meaning that they miss 10 percent of the school year, or about 18 days of instruction, because of excused and unexcused absences.

Chronic absence can have consequences throughout a child’s academic career, especially for those students living in poverty, who need school the most and are sometimes getting the least. Children who are chronically absent in kindergarten and first grade are less likely to read proficiently by third grade, and students who don’t read well by that critical juncture are more likely to struggle in school. They are also more likely to be chronically absent in later years, since they never developed good attendance habits.

By middle school, chronic absence becomes one of the leading indicators that a child will drop out of high school. By ninth grade, it’s a better indicator than how well a student did on eighth grade tests.

So how do we address potential problems? A key step will be letting families know about the critical role they play in getting children to school on time every day. It is up to parents to build a habit of good attendance, enforce bedtimes and other routines and avoid vacations while school is in session. Teachers can reinforce these messages and, when they can, offer fun incentives for those students who show the best attendance or most improvement. Businesses, faith leaders and community volunteers can also convey this message.

We are also going to take a closer look at our attendance numbers to see how many students are missing and excessive number of days from school. We will set attendance goals for our principals and schools, particularly those schools we’re working to improve. Just as we use test scores to measure the progress that students and schools are making, we will look at chronic absence rates.

Please remember that our schools cannot address this issue alone. We are going to call on the whole community to help. Please take some time this month to think about what you can do within your own family and your own neighborhood to help get more kids to school. And join us in our effort to make every day count. Thank you.

For more information regarding the impact of absenteeism, please see my Superintendent Proclamation for the month of September.

Superintendent’s Entry Plan

I am pleased to announce the release of the Superintendent’s Entry Plan, Laying a Foundation for Success. This plan provides insight into my transition as division superintendent in my first 120 days. For me, this plan emphasizes the importance of seeking opportunities to look, listen, and learn from both our community and school personnel.

While some of this work is currently in progress, there is still much to do in the coming weeks. In accordance with this plan, I will schedule opportunities to meet with students, parents, teachers, school support personnel, community, and business leaders. Additionally, I will look for opportunities to engage local organizations which have an interest in the success of our school division.

I am confident that through meaningful dialogue with stakeholders regarding the opportunities and challenges facing our school division that I will be better equipped to make informed decisions in the best interest of students.

You may access my full entry plan at http://gparker.blogs.ccps.us/about-dr-parker/

Superintendent’s Message, August 2015

Welcome to the 2015-2016 School Year!!

Dear Parents, Students, and Supporters of Caroline County Public Schools:

The start of a new school year is an exciting time for everyone! The anticipation has been building all week as we welcomed back our staff on Monday, August 10th from a well-deserved summer break. If you are the parent of a new or returning student, we hope that you have taken advantage of the opportunities this week to visit your child’s school to retrieve a schedule, meet staff, and tour our facilities.

School will begin for all students on Monday, August 17, 2015. Our teachers and support staff have worked extremely hard to prepare for 2015-16 school year. Expectations are high for every student as we plan to improve on solid gains in student achievement from last school year.

We enter the 2015-2016 school year confident that our school division is headed in the right direction. We are pleased to report that Madison Elementary will join the ranks of schools this year that have earned full state accreditation based on results from the Standards of Learning assessments! Additionally, all schools demonstrated improvement, and we are confidently setting the bar even higher this school year.

Whether you are a parent, guardian or a member of the community, our hope is that we can partner with you this year to ensure that all of our students have a successful school year. We encourage you to visit our school websites to learn how you can serve as a volunteer. Our community volunteers have aided our schools in improving the quality of education for every student. We need your support!

Thank you for allowing us to serve your child this school year! I look forward to seeing the many happy faces of our new and returning students in the coming days.

Superintendent’s Message, July 2015

Greetings!

Dear Parents, Students, and Citizens of Caroline County:

On Wednesday, July 1, 2015, I began the next chapter in my professional career as your school superintendent! I am extremely pleased with the warm reception that my family and I have received thus far.

In the coming weeks, I will share information regarding my schedule as I begin to meet with the community of Caroline County. There will be several opportunities within my first 100 days with the school division to meet and hear from community stakeholders. I truly value your input and suggestions regarding the school division and hope that you will take advantage of any future opportunities to share your thoughts.

In order to provide appropriate customer service, I have created a special email address: askthesupt@ccps.us, which will enable you to email questions or concerns throughout the school year. My goal is to ensure that you receive both timely and excellent service.

I truly look forward to meeting you in the future. Together we can provide a quality education for every child in Caroline County!

Dr. Parker

Please follow me on twitter @carolinesupt

Welcome to Caroline, Dr. Parker!

The Caroline County School Board, at its regular scheduled meeting on Monday, June 8, 2015, appointed Dr. George Parker, III from Virginia Beach, Virginia, Caroline County Public Schools’ next Superintendent. Dr. Parker will begin his tenure as Superintendent in Caroline on July 1, 2015.

Welcome to Caroline, Dr. Parker!

Superintendent, Caroline County Public Schools