Project Backpack Donations Sought: Help LEAP Students Get a Hop on the New School Year

July 9, 2015

Suffolk Public School’s Project Backpack is seeking donations from the community to provide back-to-school backpacks and school supplies for 500 elementary students participating in the new LEAP program.

Learning & Enrichment for Academic Progress – or LEAP – is a full-day summer program for selected K-5 students from 12 elementary schools city-wide and rising kindergarten students without preschool experience.  Based at Mack Benn, Jr. Elementary School, students focus on academic remediation in the morning, and participate in a wide variety of enrichment opportunities in the afternoon.

Project Backpack was initiated with an unsolicited, but greatly appreciated $847 donation by the Suffolk Women of the Moose, Chapter 1315 and Loyal Order of the Moose, Lodge 141.

Moose donation 1
(Pictured: Rebecca Jenkins of the Women of the Moose presents donation check and donated school      supplies at its July 7, 2015 meeting to Bethanne Bradshaw of Suffolk Public Schools.)


Other individuals and organizations interested in supporting Project Backpack can contact Bethanne       Bradshaw, public information & community relations officer, by email at         or by phone at (757) 925-6752.  The Moose donation will need to be   matched to purchase 500 backpacks, and additional funds will be needed to purchase any school supplies.  The fundraising goal is $2,000 total – which translates to $4 a student.

The LEAP program has expanded the school division’s traditional elementary summer school – changing it from a half-day to a full-day program and adding two additional weeks.  The schedule change has increased attendance, and expects to reduce summer learning loss, improve academic performance, increase wellness awareness, and enhance family engagement.

LEAP started June 22 and will continue through July 30. The expanded summer school is supported by such financial partners as United Way of South Hampton Roads (United for Children), Obici Healthcare Foundation, Early Childhood Development Commission of Suffolk, Birdsong Foundation, and Suffolk Education Foundation.

Health and wellness partners include Hampton Roads Community Health Center (Healthy Smiles), Western Tidewater Community Services Board, and Suffolk YMCA.  Program provider partners include Jefferson Lab, Suffolk Public Library, Suffolk Center for the Cultural Arts, Virginia Cooperative Extension Service, Suffolk Parks & Recreation, Suffolk Sheriff’s Office, The UP Center, Tiger Martial Arts, and more.  Volunteer and support partners include Suffolk Business Women’s Club, Farmers Bank, Taylor Orthodontics, Old Dominion University’s Student Virginia Education Association, and the U.S. Coast Guard.

For more information on the LEAP program or Project Backpack, please contact Bethanne Bradshaw, public information & community relations officer, at (757) 925-6752 or by email at

Virginia Department of Education Surveying Parents & Public on Redesign of School Performance Report Cards

July 21, 2015

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is surveying parents and other members of the public to find out what information and features should be added to the online performance report cards the department publishes for schools, school divisions and the state.

“The current report cards provide a wealth of data, but the static format limits the usefulness of the information and can be confusing,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples said. “The results of this survey will help the department and the state Board of Education identify additional indicators to provide the public with a fuller understanding of a school’s or division’s performance.”

The 16-item survey may be accessed from the VDOE homepage ( or directly at The survey takes 15-20 minutes to complete and will remain active until Friday, August 14, 2015. Responses are anonymous.

Information from the survey will be presented later this year to the Board of Education, which was directed by the 2015 General Assembly to unveil redesigned report cards to the public by October 1, 2016.

“School and division performance report cards will continue to provide accountability ratings and detailed state assessment results,” said Diane T. Atkinson, chairman of the Board of Education’s Committee on School and Division Accountability. “But the new report cards will include contextual information to help the public understand the challenges schools face and tools that parents and others can use to zero in on the information that most interests them.”

The 2015 legislation — House Bill 1672, sponsored by Del. Thomas A. “Tag” Greason (R-Loudoun) and Senate Bill 727, sponsored by Sen. Richard H. Black (R-Loudoun) — directed the board to develop report cards that are “more effective in communicating to parents and the public the status and achievements of the public schools and local school divisions in the Commonwealth.”

The identical bills also repealed 2013 legislation that required the state board to develop and implement an A-F school grading system.



WANTED: Bus Drivers

May 15, 2015

Suffolk Public Schools is currently hiring Substitute Bus Drivers.  Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED and have reached 19 years of age by the first day of school with three years driving experience.  You are required to hold a CDL license, which you can obtain through our training department. Training lasts between 3-4 weeks, five days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Rate of pay – $11.20 per hour. Apply online at


Suffolk Public Schools is currently hiring Substitute Bus Aides.  Applicants must have any combination of education and experience equivalent to completion of 8th-grade and some experience in working with children.  Training lasts three days from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Rate of pay – $7.93 per hour. Apply online at


Learn about Virtual Virginia Full-Time High School

June 17, 2015

This fall, Virtual Virginia — the supplemental online program provided by the Virginia Department of Education –will pilot a full-time online high school option.

This pilot program will host students in grades 9-12 and include core curriculum in addition to Virtual Virginia’s current offerings in World Languages, Advanced Placement, and elective courses.

Limited space is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Standard courses are tuition-free; students must enroll via local public schools.

Suffolk Education Foundation Seeks Executive Director

July 9, 2015

The Suffolk Education Foundation is seeking a Part-Time Executive Director to manage the daily operations of the Foundation who has these key characteristics:

  • Passionate about public education
  • Familiar with Suffolk
  • Experience with fundraising, relationship building, volunteer management, and strategic planning.

Please review this website for information about the SEF and its programs.

Qualifications for Part-Time Executive Director include:

  • Experience in non-profit, volunteer board management
  • Demonstrated success in non-profit development, including fundraising events, securing sponsors, securing major contributions and endowments, and increasing donor gifts
  • Experience in grant proposal writing
  • Demonstrated success in budgeting, public relations, special event management, and volunteer recruitment/retention

The salary range is $18,000 to $25,000.

Hours will vary, but the board will require the Executive Director to spend at least five (5) hours a week working in Suffolk.

Please email a detailed cover letter and resume no later than Saturday, August 1, 2015 to the following email address: