Top 24 Frequently Asked Budget Questions Answered

April 24, 2017

Employees and others have asked the following budget questions.  SPS responses are being shared with the community below.


1- What happens if City Council only provides $1 million, instead of the $2-million increase requested by the School Board?

The School Board’s budget priority is employee salaries.  Considering the $2 million requested is to go directly to employees’ raises, the percentages of raises will likely be affected.  The board may consider other options.

The City Council will hold its budget public hearing on Wednesday, May 3, beginning at 7 p.m., in City Hall located at 442 W. Washington St.

Additional questions about the budget can sent using this CONTACT US form.

2- Why are health care costs rising so much that it will eliminate my proposed raise?

The cost of health care such as doctor visits, prescriptions, surgery, inpatient and outpatient surgery have all been rising across the nation in the double digits annually. SPS has held onto our very rich HMO-90/10 and KeyCare-PPO plans for many years and it is just not possible to sustain them without passing along the “real” cost to employees. It is for this reason, the Health Benefits Committee came up with choices for our employees.  The cost of the plan does not have to eliminate your raise depending upon which plan you choose and how you utilize the benefit. Please remember that you have a choice to pay nearly the same or less for the HMO-80/20 plan or to choose the High Deductible plan and save money toward the health care bills that the deductible would require. Also, remember that this raise is for the entire year whereas the health care increase is only for 6 months of the year. Please utilize the “Alex” tool (available in May 2017) so that you can make the best decision for your particular needs.

3- Why does my 2015-2016 raise listed on paper not match what I received?

Any employee with questions about pay should call the Payroll Department at 925-6754.

4- Can’t raises for employees at the School Administrative Offices be frozen and those funds be put to use to increase other employees’ salaries?

Asking for one group to have a freeze to provide another group a raise is unfair on many levels and fosters the mistaken idea that one group of employees is more important than ALL employees.

5- School Administrative Offices is top heavy. Can’t positions there be cut to give employees more money?

Administration, Attendance and Health for surrounding districts.
2017-2018 Proposed Budget Information
Percentage of Operating Budget
Portsmouth                                     5.60%
Norfolk                                              5.40%
Hampton                                            5.29%
York                                              5.10%
Newport News                             4.60%
Suffolk                                          3.90%
Chesapeake                                  3.61%
Virginia Beach                         3.40%

6- Why should our Superintendent earn as much as Superintendents with more students and staff?

All surrounding districts comparable in size are in BOLD ITALIC.


City/County 2016 Students Base Salary Salary per Student
Virginia Beach                       67,890  $            231,400.00                           3.41
Chesapeake                       38,885                215,000.00                           5.53
Norfolk                       29,607                224,000.00                           7.57
Newport News                       27,253                221,723.00                           8.14
Hampton City                       19,749                198,500.00                           1.05
Portsmouth                        14,003                215,000.00                         15.35
Suffolk*                       13,837                200,000.00                         14.45
York                       12,522                188,000.00                         15.01
Williamsburg JCC                       10,272                192,052.00                         18.70
Isle of Wight                         5,314                142,500.00                         26.82
Franklin City                         1,057                111,650.00                       105.63
*This uses Suffolks Superintendent’s 2016-2017 Salary, the data on the other
Superintendent’s salaries for 2016-2017 has not been made available yet.


7- Did the School Board Attorney receive a 10% raise at or around the same time the Superintendent received a raise?

No. The School Board Attorney is a contracted employee and his salary is set annually by the School Board. The published budget document each year is approved with a placeholder of the same raise adopted for all staff, awaiting the letter from the School Board setting the Attorney’s salary. In July 2016, his adopted salary in the budget document was $157,524 — a 2.5% increase over 2015-2016 fiscal year. The School Board set his salary at $161,366 that year so he received an additional 2.5% or a total of 5% increase over the actual salary paid to him in Fiscal 2015-2016.

8- How much do School Board members make and why are they paid anything?

Each member is paid a stipend of $10,000 annually. Virginia Code Section 22.1-32 states that any elected school board may pay each of its members an annual salary that is consistent with the salary procedures and no more than the salary limits provided for local governments in Article 1.1 (§ 15.2-1414.1 et seq.) of Chapter 14 of Title 15.2 or as provided by charter. However, any elected school board of a school division comprised of a county having the county manager plan of government, as provided in § 15.2-702.1 may, after a public hearing pursuant to notice in the manner provided in subdivision 8 of § 22.1-79, set the annual salary of its members at no more than $25,000, except that the annual salary of the chairman, vice-chairman, or both, may exceed $ 25,000.

9- Why isn’t there a teacher in every class instead of long-term subs?

There are many reasons that a school division may need a long-term substitute teacher. Teachers are allowed to be absent for Family Medical Leave under (FMLA) and in such cases a long-term sub is procured as SPS is required to hold the teacher’s position. Recruiting new teachers is essential to any school division. Our Human Resources Department goes out every year to regional colleges to recruit new teachers. In addition, with a shortage of quality teacher applicants, it is not uncommon for school divisions to have a long-term substitutes especially for hard-to-fill positions such as Math, English, and Special Education.

10- Why is the School Board just a rubber stamp of what the Superintendent wants?

Actually, the Superintendent is hired by the School Board and is works under their direction. In the case of the budget, the School Board tells the Superintendent their priorities annually and he incorporates them into his proposed budget. The Superintendent does make recommendations based on the data and state/federal guidelines regarding compliance. It is the School Board that votes based upon the information. Many times, School Board members ask questions, gather information, and consult their attorney in order to make the best decision possible for the good of all students and staff in the school division. The School Board meeting is the culmination of all the work that goes into gathering, consulting, and learning about issues.  The board has Work Sessions as a way for information exchanges and in-depth discussion prior to the formal meeting.

11- Why aren’t left over funds from June 30 used to increase pay the following year?

There are many expenses that we are not able to cover in the budget. It has been 10 years since equipment replacement has been a part of our normal budget.  HVAC repairs, replacement of equipment that is over 20 years old, and roofs systems that are out of warranty have not been included in the budget. There is usually some money left at year end but this fluctuates greatly depending upon emergency repairs of aged equipment as described above. Those are one-time expenses. However, payroll expense is a recurring expense and if we do not have budgeted funds guaranteed to cover the cost of contracts, it could result in a reduction of force.

12- Does the School Board give back money every year?

The short answer is yes, a small amount usually less than $30,000. In years where it has been more, a negotiation takes place with the City to re-appropriate it to Capital Improvements or a specific project agreed upon by the City Council and School Board. By law, School Boards are not allowed to keep a fund balance that is unassigned. Assigned fund balances include encumbrances for contracts for goods and services such as textbooks, buses, HVAC summer work, and contracted work that has begun but is not complete by June 30.

13- Did the School Board really give back $600,000 to the City of Suffolk last year?

In late June 2016, the School Board received from Medicaid a letter indicating that they were releasing reserves held for several years. At about this same time, the Virginia Department of Education sent the final numbers for several programs based on participation. Both added together meant that SPS received $661,379 above the Appropriation approved by the City of Suffolk for fiscal 2015-2016. Legally, SPS is not allowed to spend any money that is not appropriated to us. Therefore, since it was too late to get all the approvals, the money was required to be turned over to the City of Suffolk. In late July, SPS received word that the State had not met their revenue projections and the money that was supposed to be given to SPS from the state for our raise in 2016-2017 would probably not materialize. The Superintendent wrote a letter to the City Manager requesting that the $661,379 be re-appropriated to SPS to make up for the shortfall. The City Council approved the ordinance and in February 2017, the School Board approved the decrease in state funding of $616,665 and the increase in city appropriation of $661,379 with the $44,714 difference being budgeted into the materials and supplies line item of the General Education program.

14- Why is the School Board not standing up for teachers and other employees when it comes to raises?

In 2014, the School Board and Superintendent worked with the City of Suffolk to have an outside firm evaluate the pay of ALL Suffolk Public Schools employees. The results of this study were published in February 2015. The School Board and the Superintendent then worked hard to convince the City to fund the more than $3.86 million it would take to fund the first phase of the plan for teachers. State money was prioritized and used to fund support staff phase-ins. Every year for the past six years, salary increases have been the priority of both the School Board and Superintendent. In five of the last six years, there have been raises included in the budget. It is important to point out that SPS is still receiving $3 million LESS money in Fiscal 2017-2018 than we received in Fiscal 2008-2009 from the State. New money from the State and City are not nearly enough to fund appropriate raises. Please see below the magnitude of money it takes to provide even a small raise.

1% Raise $1,254,033
1.5% Raise $1,881,050
2% Raise $2,508,066
2.5% Raise $3,135,083
3.0% Raise $3,762,099


15- What other budget adjustments has the School Board made without Public knowledge?

The School Board adjusts the budget very rarely. All adjustments to budget are reviewed annually by an outside auditor firm which audits all the financial information of the schools and School Administrative Offices. Results of these reports are published annually in the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) that can be found on the City of Suffolk’s website. The School Board has the right to transfer budget from one line to another. In the case of the Superintendent’s salary, a budget transfer was done. Savings from turnover in and restructuring of another executive position was used to fund the increase. This was all done legally and in line with School Board policy.

16- How do I know what Suffolk Public Schools’ is spending their money on?

Each year in the budget document, the first column to each page show the detail by line, object, and program what was actually spent the previous year. In addition, an annual external audit is performed and the results of that audit are published in the City of Suffolk’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report under the Discrete Component Unit section. These external auditors are measuring internal controls to make sure proper authorization is documented before budget is spent, variances in budget versus spending, and compliance with state, federal and local laws and policies. In addition, monthly bills and payroll are a published and are available on the School Board’s agenda by vendor, amount and description.

17- Why are loyal employees at the top of the scale being given the smallest raises? We should be rewarded for our loyalty and service.

All positions within the school division have a salary range, a beginning salary and an ending salary. Once an employee achieves the highest salary paid for a position, it is common practice to supply a Cost of Living (COLA) to that top salary. It is not a matter of value but of market. SPS greatly values ALL of its employees and recognizes that giving step raises every year leaves those at the top of the scale with only a COLA. For this reason, SPS tries to balance years’ with steps and years with COLA’s.

18- Why isn’t the state raise from the General Assembly enough to cover a raise for Suffolk Public Schools employees?

The state provided funds for a raise of 2% over the two-year biennium budget. The amount in revenue is the prevailing cost (average across the state) of only state Standards of Quality (SOQ) positions (minimum number of mandated positions) to receive a raise no later than February 2017. The revenue provided by the state to SPS is $400,458. The actual cost of a 1% raise for all employees is $1.25 million.

19- Why did Career & Technical Education (CTE) High School get cut so much?

This is not actually a cut. The CTE High School program used to have a budget to help support The Pruden Center. Isle of Wight County Public Schools has decided not to participate in the center so, SPS has evaluated the programs at the Center, renamed it The College and Career Academy at Pruden and will be adding to the programming available in the coming years to meet the needs of our students. The budget was moved to its own page and a detailed budget, much like the other programs, is provided in the budget document to show how the budget will be spent.

20- Why were there so many positions added to the budget?

The change to The College and Career Academy at Pruden accounts 30.6 positions added as those employees become SPS employees as of July 1. The other positions come from changing some part-time positions to full-time, reducing a Dean of Students position, and hiring an Assistant Principal position. Two Physical Therapists were added and the budget transferred from Purchased Services where they were previously outsourced. The special education program added a teacher to meet student needs, and two teacher assistants.

21- Why do benefits make up almost 25% of the budget?

Benefits for public school employees are almost entirely mandated by the state or federal governments. The Federally Insured Contributions Act (FICA) is federally mandated. Retirement employer contributions are set by the General Assembly and next year, will be 17.55% for professional employees (teachers group). Group life insurance is also mandated at 1.32% of salary by the General Assembly. The cost of health care is skyrocketing across the nation and SPS is not immune. SPS is making several changes this year that we believe will make the plans offered more sustainable for the division to offer.

22- There is a line item for Non-departmental. What kind of items would fit under that category?

Non-departmental refers to items that do not fit in a single department or program and need to be allocated over many departments or programs. One example is annual and/or sick leave pay-outs for employees who are leaving or retiring. We do not know which departments/programs will be affected and since we do not have enough money to budget for each one, we budget the approximate amount here and allocate the funds after we make the pay-outs. Unemployment costs are another area where it is not known which departments/programs will be affected and we do not budget each one but wait and allocate at year end. School Specialty purchasing cards for classroom materials that touch every program of instruction are budgeted here. The Community in Schools program that isn’t specifically instructional is also budgeted here. A small equipment replacement on emergency basis for copiers is also placed here as we do not have enough to budget equipment replacement on a rotating basis.

23- Why is so much being spent on Textbooks?

The state mandates a specific amount each year for the purchase of textbooks, workbooks, and consumables used in the classroom with regard to textbooks. This item also covers lost/stolen books, any new adoptions, replacement textbooks, and additional textbooks needed if class sizes for a particular book are higher than expected. If we do not spend this amount plus the amount we are required to match it, then we must refuse the state revenue funding.

24- Explain Alternative Education on page 73 “Share Joint Operations”

The budgeted amount of $70,000 is for the SECEP alternative education program costs due when children are assigned to this SECEP program. SECEP is the Southeastern Cooperative Education Program for certain special needs students.

Appreciation: Teachers, Lunch Heroes & Nurses

April 27, 2017

Take time to thank our teachers, teacher assistants, food service workers, and school nurses.  These employees are the focus of national recognition weeks coming up in May.

Suffolk Public Schools celebrates National Teacher Appreciation Week from May 1 to May 5, but has also set aside Wednesday, May 3 as Teacher Assistant Appreciation Day.

Share your appreciation as well to our school nutrition employees who help keep our students and staff healthy and well.  School Lunch Hero Day is Friday, May 5.

Nurses also deserve applause.  National School Nurse Day is Wednesday, May 10.


National Teacher Appreciation Week is May 1 – May 5

As part of Teacher Appreciation Week, Suffolk Public Schools is supporting the 2017 “Thank a Teacher” campaign, led by the Virginia PTA and the Virginia Lottery. The campaign encourages students, parents and members of the community to send thank-you notes to teachers across the Commonwealth to recognize their hard work and dedication. Last year, more than 30,000 thank-you notes were sent to Virginia’s public school teachers.  We hope you will join us and take part in “Thank a Teacher” by recognizing even more teachers this year. Visit to send an electronic thank-you note to a deserving teacher in your life or check with your individual schools to see what they have planned – many PTAs are hosting thank-you note-writing stations and events!

  • Throughout the week, schools will be honoring classroom teachers with a variety of events.
  • The division’s Teacher of the Year Banquet is Tuesday, May 2. This invitation-only celebration recognizes each school’s Teacher of the Year, as well as the City-Wide Teachers of the Year (Andrae Riddick of King’s Fork High School), the City-Wide Middle School Teacher of the Year (Emma Neave of John F. Kennedy Middle School), and the City-Wide Elementary School Teacher of the Year (Natalie Street of Creekside Elementary).
  • Thursday, May 4 is Teacher Assistant Day: Please take a moment on this day to show the teacher assistants at your school how much they mean to you.


School Lunch Hero Day … The school nutrition staff in Suffolk Public Schools strives to make lunchtime the favorite part of every student’s day. From their friendly greetings in the cafeteria and the love they dish out with every student meal, to how they encourage kids to eat more fruits and vegetables, our school nutrition professionals are truly heroes. On Friday, May 5, students will show their appreciation for their school nutrition staff as part of School Lunch Hero Day.  Students will shower their school lunch heroes with thanks, cards, and recognition. School Lunch Hero Day gives schools and communities the opportunity to thank school nutrition professionals.  For more information visit  Call Brian Williams, Director of Food & Nutrition Services, at 925-5789 for additional details.


National School Nurse Day celebrated Wednesday, May 10 … We honor our school nurses who make a difference in the lives of children every day! The theme this year is “Healthy Nurse. Healthy Students.” School nurses lead the way to advance health and support education by ensuring that students are safe, healthy, and ready to learn. Learn more at  Call Dr. Suzanne Rice, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services, at 925-6761 for additional information.


Early Start Pre-Screening Applications Now Available

March 2, 2017


Submitting this form does NOT guarantee acceptance into the program.  


  • Child must be Suffolk resident
  • Child must be 4 years of age by Sept. 30, 2017

You will receive an appointment date to have your child screened for the Early Start program.

Acceptance letters will be mailed the week of August 3, 2017.

NOTE:  Because Early Start classes are not located in each elementary school, school placement will be determined based on Early Start zoning. Students are not guaranteed placement in the home-zoned school.  Transportation is provided.


Read This Week’s SPS News

April 25, 2017

Share your Suffolk Public Schools stories:  SUBMIT NEWS

You are part of the exciting things happening in our schools, and we would like to hear your stories and ideas. The information you share could be used in weekly media updates, YouTube videos, our website, and our social media channels. The electronic Submit News Form is now available on our website.

Tell us your story about hands-on learning, STEM, special lessons that differ from “regular” school day, use of technology or new equipment to enhance learning, family engagement events, community partnerships and volunteers, grants in action, new and innovative program or teaching strategy, and student or staff achievement

The form will prompt for details such as who, what, when, where, why and how.  Explain what is unique or interesting.  Explain why this event is happening.  What is the significance of hosting this event?  Is the feature related to a national or historic event? Is it unique in some way?  What about the event could attract media coverage?  How is this beneficial or different?

Image requirements: Acceptable image types: .jpg, .tif, .png … Subjects must be in focus … Layout: Both landscape and portrait layouts are preferred … High resolution preferred: 300 dots per inch (dpi)

Thanks for being our partner!

April is the Month of the Military Child — Purple Up!

April 5, 2017

The month of April has been designated by Gov. Terry McAuliffe through proclamation as the Month of the Military Child — a special time to pay tribute to military children for their commitment, patience, courage, and unconditional support of their parents.

Across Virginia, Friday, April 21 will be the day to “Purple Up! for Military Kids Day”  Wearing purple on April 21 will show support for our military students and appreciation for their strength and sacrifices.  Purple is the color that symbolizes a combination of all branches of the military — Army green, Coast Guard blue, Air Force blue, Marine red, and Navy blue.

Click here for a Purple Up! poster.


Governor’s 2017 Resolution:

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Virginia is proud to be home to more than 73,000 whose parents serve in the military, stationed in Virginia; and

WHEREAS, April is Month of the Military Child, a special month to recognize and pay tribute to military families and their children for the daily sacrifices made, and for their commitment, courage, and unconditional support of our Armed Forces; and

WHEREAS, Virginia has one of the highest numbers of military school-age children in the nation and is committed to being an active participant in the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children which facilitates military children transitioning in school systems across state lines; and

WHEREAS, the children of our service members continue to make significant contributions to schools, communities, the nation, and our Commonwealth, despite prolonged and repeated absences of one or both parents; and

WHEREAS, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), Virginia’s public schools remain committed to the care and education of the children of men and women of our armed forces.

WHEREAS, by partnering with school liaison officers, military leaders, educators, and community organizations, VDOE provides resources about the unique support needed for military service members and their families during all stages of transition and deployment; and

WHEREAS, Month of the Military Child reaffirms our commitment to ensuring excellence in schools, childcare, and youth services to military children who face unique challenges that other children their age never experience;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Terence R. McAuliffe, do hereby recognize April 2017 as MONTH OF THE MILITARY CHILD in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.


April was designated as “The Month of the Military Child” by former Secretary of Defense, Caspar W. Weinberger in 1986 to recognize the contributions of children whose parents serve in the military and celebrate their spirit.

Often military children are looked up to for their resilience and ability to deal with life-changing events, but frequent moves, family separations through deployments and reintegration issues following deployments make life especially challenging for many military children.

Here are some possible “Month of the Military Child” activities:

  • Create a “Wall of Honor” which features photos and short stories about service members connected to the school.
  • Invite a veterans group to demonstrate flag etiquette and flag folding.
  • Establish a Patriotic Day and encourage educators and students to wear patriotic colors.
  • Invite service members to speak with classes about what it’s like to be in the military.
  • On April 21, participate in Purple Up! by wearing purple in recognition of military kids, families and friends. For more information about the month of the military child, see the Purple Up! flier (PDF).
  • Present military youth with a Certificate of Recognition. Service members are often recognized with certificates and medals for their outstanding service, and children will be able to hang their own certificate on the wall along with those of their parents.

2017 City-Wide Teachers of the Year Announced

March 28, 2017

Congratulations to Andrae Riddick, a special education teacher at King’s Fork High School, who has been selected as Suffolk Public Schools’ 2017 City-Wide Teacher of the Year.


Congratulations also to Emma Neave of John F. Kennedy Middle School, who was named Middle School Teacher of the Year … Natalie Street of Creekside Elementary School, who was named Elementary School Teacher of the Year … and Sabrina Hayes of John Yeates Middle School, who was selected as Rookie Teacher of the Year.


CW_TOY_KFHSNow in his fourth year of teaching, Riddick is known for his creativity, charisma, leadership, and teaching style.  But it is his connections with students that bring him the most praise from colleagues, and the most personal pride.  “I live by the saying that every child is just one caring adult away from being a success story,” Riddick said.


A 2006 graduate of Nansemond River High School, Riddick has worked at King’s Fork High School for six years – first as a special education paraprofessional and now as a classroom teacher.  He co-teaches geometry under the inclusion model, where students with special needs are included in a regular math class.  Colleagues said a classroom visitor would find it difficult to discern between him and the general education teacher because both work with all the students in the classroom as “true co-teachers.”  Riddick explained that he shows students how “geometry is not just a random math class they have to take,” but how geometry concepts are used every day.


Principal Dr. Ronald Leigh said Riddick’s role as the school’s Service Learning Coordinator is “where he has done his best work … where he has brought pride and distinction to our school through the outreach he has provided” to two local elementary schools.  Service Learning integrates academic work with community service, allowing students to apply classroom knowledge to real life by getting hands-on experience in the community.  This year, Riddick revived the “K9 Konnection” program through the Service Learning class he now teaches.  KFHS Bulldogs in this program volunteer weekly at Elephant’s Fork Elementary and Hillpoint Elementary as lunch buddies, classroom helpers, recess monitors, and role models for future Bulldogs.


Assistant Principal Kimberly Warholak said Riddick’s “commitment to success for his students is demonstrated on a daily basis when he uses his planning time to work one-to-one with students who are struggling academically or with students who are dealing with a social situation and need someone to listen and offer sound advice.”  Fellow teacher Brendy White added:  “He has been an influential part in the successful improvements of many students’ attendance, behavior, and overall attitude.  Being a mentor and positive male figure is very important in our school environment, as well as in the community, and he has taken on this challenge with great dignity and honor.”


Riddick earned his bachelor’s degree from North Carolina A&T State University and his master’s degree from Old Dominion University.



MS_ TOYEmma Neave, an 8th-grade English teacher at John F. Kennedy Middle School, has been named the 2017 Middle School Teacher of the Year for Suffolk Public Schools.  In the classroom for four years, Neave is known for her determination, leadership, and quiet but passionate enthusiasm for teaching.


A colleague said that Neave has a special ability “to take a struggling student and make them shine.  When a student leaves her room, they know they have learned and accomplished way more than they thought they ever could.” According to a current student who also had Neave in 7th-grade:  “Each and every lesson that takes place in our classroom is dynamic and stimulating … She effectively teaches us everything we need to know and more.”


Principal Vivian Covington said Neave is “the type of person that would never draw attention to herself or to the work she has completed over the years … a testament to her humble countenance.”


In describing her teaching philosophy, Neave said she firmly believes “every individual has the ability to learn, and as educators, it is our responsibility to ensure that each child has the proper scaffolding, support, tools, and encouragement to reach their full potential.  Every student is smart in their own way, and it is up to the teacher to draw upon each students’ strengths while helping them improve in areas of weakness.”


She wrote in her application:  “No one is in teaching for the monetary or material rewards, which we know are few.  Instead, I find my joy in the intrinsic rewards of teaching.  Many days are a struggle with multiple forces that threaten to derail my students.  I have learned to find my peace in the small victories:  a special needs student’s explosive joy at achieving mastery on a benchmark test, being able to write feedback on a student’s writing that shows remarkable growth, or a comment from a colleague that my students were raving about a recent lesson.”


Beyond the classroom, she mentors new teachers and sponsors the Junior Beta Club.  Neave earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Sweet Briar College.



TOY+BrennanNatalie Street, a third-grade teacher at Creekside Elementary, has been named the 2017 Elementary School Teacher of the Year for Suffolk Public Schools.  In the classroom for eight years, she is known for her dedication and optimism, and has been called a natural born leader.


A colleague applauded Street’s high standards for all students in her class, while also creating a positive, family atmosphere in her classroom:  “She doesn’t allow excuses by students for not meeting or exceeding goals.  Her organizational skills, thoroughness, and willingness to collaborate with colleagues makes her the perfect teacher leader.”


In describing her efforts to show that learning can be fun, Street says she’s taught on top of tables, done cartwheels down the hall, spoken in funny accents, “made fun of myself, said I’m sorry a thousand times, and even cried with my students.  I’ve told students my hardships and mistakes, while teaching them how to set goals and overcome mistakes.  My philosophy of teaching is expressed through using a motivating balance of engagement, strong work ethic, and a sense of belonging.”


A parent said that Street “not only taught my son the third grade curriculum, she taught him that learning was fun, and the harder you work the bigger the reward.  She taught him that a great work ethic and mastering the fundamentals will make you a success at anything you do.”


Street has worked hard to rebuild the Suffolk Reading Council, an organization dedicated to the promotion of literacy in schools and the community, and currently serves as its president.  The Council has hosted two Saturday mini-conferences for local teachers and sponsored a division-wide book drive to donate books to homeless shelters, day care centers, and doctors’ offices.


Beyond the classroom, Street sponsors the Gator Gardening Club, helping students learn about plants first-hand as they work in the community garden at their school.


Street earned her bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University, and her master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame, Maryland.



Rookie_tOY2Congratulations to Sabrina Hayes, an 8th-grade English teacher at John Yeates Middle School, who has been named the 2017 City-Wide Rookie Teacher of the Year.


Hayes started in January 2016, taking over for a teacher who left.  A veteran teacher told her “there is only one first-year of teaching.”  Hayes said that advice “served as a constant reminder for me to establish a solid baseline for the following years to come, and to learn as much as I could.  I knew that going into the first year of teaching would have a number of daunting barriers and challenges, but going into the middle of the school was difficult. It forced me to adapt and overcome quickly.”


Principal Shawn Green said Hayes is “highly motivated, reliable, and always willing to extend beyond what is expected of her.” Because of her youth, she quickly become a peer leader in instructional technology, helping her colleagues get comfortable with the school’s new “Bring Your Own Device” program.  This option allowed students to use mobile technology for learning.


A fellow teacher said Hayes “created a comfortable but structured atmosphere in which students can learn, and a very positive but professional relationship with her students.  They feel comfortable coming to her with concerns or problems and she is kind and firm with them as a teacher, not a ‘friend’ which is difficult for many first-year teachers to accomplish.”


According to one of Hayes’ students: “It is painstakingly obvious that she loves teaching, which inspires others to learn because of how passionate she sounds when teaching.  She tells us that she could never see herself doing anything else.”


Beyond the classroom, Hayes sponsors the student recycling club and started an after-school writing club.  She earned her bachelor’s degree from Old Dominion University.

Suffolk Celebrates National Public School Volunteer Week – April 18-21

April 5, 2017


For nearly two decades, Project Appleseed has inspired millions of parents to volunteer in thousands of schools nationwide. National Public School Volunteer Week is one of the project’s family engagement events that produces hundreds of millions in volunteer time each year. Each year, parents and family members, state departments of education, nonprofits, businesses and thousands of school districts are involved.

When parents are involved in children’s learning, at school and at home, schools work better and students learn more. Project Appleseed is working with schools, families, employers and community organizations to develop local partnerships that support a safe school environment where students learn to challenging standards.

Young Writers Recognized by Suffolk Reading Council

April 27, 2017

Congratulations to the student winners of the Suffolk Reading Council’s Young Writers contest.   Every year students throughout Suffolk Public Schools are encouraged to submit a sample of their creative writing for a city-wide contest called Young Writers.  The categories include fiction, nonfiction, poetry and autobiography.  These books are written and illustrated as a classroom learning activity.  The following winners were recently recognized at a City-Wide Young Writers Reception:

Kindergarten Class Books

  • Fiction – 1st Place Ms. Yunker’s Class, Driver Elementary “Crusher’s Adventure” 2nd Place, Mrs. Lowe’s Class, Pioneer Elementary “Yo Ho, Yo Ho Pirate’s Life for Me”
  • Nonfiction – 1st Place, Ms. Johnson’s Class, Hillpoint Elementary “My Favorite Thing about Kindergarten”


  • Fiction – 1st Place Cameron Smith, Kilby Shores Elementary “The Night Visitor” 2nd Place, Ean Harrell, Hillpoint Elementary, “Teddy Bear Goes to the Lake” 3rd Place, Colton Hunter, Oakland Elementary, “A Bad Monster”
  • Nonfiction – 1st Place Katherine Wilson, Hillpoint Elementary, “Me and My Brother” 2nd Place, Maren Harrison, Kilby Shores Elementary, “Our Trip to Disney World” 3rd Place, Jaden Williams, Pioneer Elementary, “My Family”
  • Autobiography – 1st Place Kenleigh Keeley, Kilby Shores Elementary, “It’s the Fantastic Kenleigh” 2nd Place, Jacob Thompson, Hillpoint Elementary, “All about Me” 3rd Place, Sara Terrillian, Pioneer Elementary, “Sara”
  • Poetry – 1st Place, Morgan Williams, Kilby Shores Elementary, “Love” 2nd Place, Jeremiah Walden, Pioneer Elementary, “Jeremy’s Poetry”

1st Grade

  • Fiction – 1st Place, Lynlee Champigny, Driver Elementary, “Baby Dino’s Best Friend” 2nd Place, Tobias Chapman, Kilby Shores Elementary, “Giving Away the Carros and the Oranges” 3rd Place, Ryan Bittle, Northern Shores Elementary, “The Swordfish and the Crab”
  • Nonfiction – 1st Place, Jordan Demoulpied-Racine, Kilby Shores Elem., “When I Grow up I Want to be just like my Dad!” 2nd Place, Charlie Johnson, Driver Elementary, “The Night I Looked Nice” 3rd Place, Peyton Adams, Pioneer Elementary, “The Bear”
  • Autobiography – 1st Place, Alana Nelms, Driver Elementary, “This is My Life” 2nd Place, Harper Embry, Creekside Elementary, “It’s all about me” 3rd Place, Arianna St-Louis, Kilby Shores, “All About Me”
  • Poetry – 1st Place, Krishelle Eason, Nansemond Parkway Elementary, “Friend and Family Poems” 2nd Place, Kylee Wilson, Pioneer Elementary, “My Poetry Booklet”

2nd Grade

  • Fiction – 1st Place, Melanie Zoudlik, Creekside Elementary, “The Rabbit and the Sock” 2nd Place, Rome Eggleston, Kilby Shores Elementary, “My Magic Wand” 3rd Place, Emma Alexander, Driver Elementary, “Dragons, A Play Date”
  • Nonfiction – 1st Place, Samantha Pollard, Creekside Elementary, “Abraham Lincoln” 2nd Place, Lily Wolfe, Driver Elementary, “Helen Keller’s Life” 3rd Place, Empriss Culbertson, Kilby Shores Elementary, “My Family”
  • Autobiography – 1st Place, Aubrey Sevilla, Driver Elementary, “My Life” 2nd Place, Caroline Smith, Kilby Shores Elementary, “All About Caroline’s Life” 3rd Place, Sierra Ingoldsby, Pioneer Elementary, “All About Me”
  • Poetry – 1st Place, Macie Schmidt, Driver Elementary, “The Old Lady” 2nd Place, Payton Lewis, Kilby Shores Elementary, “My Poems” 3rd Place, Ezekiel Reid, Pioneer Elementary, “My Poetry Booklet”

3rd Grade

  • Fiction – 1st Place, Meredith Collins, Nansemond Parkway, “How it Feels to be lightning” 1st Place, Lucas Bishop, Kilby Shores Elementary, “Giant Turtle on a Rampage” 2nd Place, Temperance Koth, Driver Elementary, “Elly the Princess Mermaid and the Marble Thief” 2nd Place, Jazmin Johnson, Creekside Elementary, “Jello Worm” 3rd Place, Taya Stone, Pioneer Elementary, “Magic Forest”
  • Nonfiction – 1st Place, Walker Douglas, Kilby Shores Elementary, “A Scary Moment in Life” 2nd Place, Lyna’e Ford, Creekside Elementary, “All About Martin Luther King Jr.” 3rd Place, Tucker March, Pioneer Elementary, “My Amazing Cruise”
  • Autobiography – 1st Place, Makayla Holland, Creekside Elementary, “My Fantastic Life” 2nd Place, Chioma Ohale, Northern Shores, “The Girl Nobody Knew Until She Told Her Story” 3rd Place, Antoine Shepherd, Kilby Shores Elementary, “All About Me”
  • Poetry – 1st Place, Sariah Fisher, Kilby Shores Elementary, “Blue Color Poem” 2nd Place, Kayla Winston, Pioneer Elementary, “Kayla’s Amazing Poems” 3rd Place, Takyla Brower, Driver Elementary, “My School Subject: Poems”

4th Grade

  • Fiction – 1st Place, Twyla Mitchell, Northern Shores Elementary, “Roller Dork” 2nd Place, Shania Woods, Hillpoint Elementary, “Forced into Slavery” 3rd Place, Cor’Je Revell, Kilby Shores, “Brittany Gullein’s Amazing Adventures”
  • Nonfiction – 1st Place, Emily Wyer, Driver Elementary, “A lesson for Potential Dog Owners” 2nd Place, Jalyn Wooten, Kilby Shores, “Civil Rights Heroes” 3rd Place, Stephanie Yamamoto, Northern Shores, “Hope Amelia Solo”
  • Autobiography – 1st Place, Aleeya Sampson, Northern Shores Elementary, “The Making of Me” 2nd Place, Janyah Bell, Kilby Shores, “All about Janyah” 3rd Place, Jamiyah Sawyer-Myrick, Creekside Elementary, “My Life Story”
  • Poetry – 1st Place, David Davenport, Drive Elementary, “Things in my Head: A Book of Poems” 2nd Place, Erika Lynne, Northern Shores Elementary, “Leap” 3rd Place, Ava England, Kilby Shores Elementary, “Thirteen Poems of Poetry”

5th Grade

  • Fiction – 1st Place, Kelly Kincheloe, Driver Elementary, “When Two Wolves Meet” 2nd Place, Jenna Mitchell, Oakland Elementary, “The Abandoned Princess” 3rd Place, Dillan Sykes, Elephants Fork Elementary, “St. Nickle’s Computer Craze” 3rd Place, Cori Nicole Cruse, Hillpoint Elementary, “The Magic Notebook-A Black & White Book”
  • Nonfiction – 1st Place, Peyton Chinn, Driver Elementary, “The First Lady of Song” 1st Place, Thailent Brown, Pioneer Elementary, “The Life of Thailent J Brown”
  • Autobiography – 2nd Place, Shemar Christopher, Driver Elementary, “Dirt Bike Rider”
  • Poetry – 1st Place, Ryan Thompson, Booker T. Washington Elementary, “La Poetry Booklet” 2nd Place, Cadence Bonner, Driver Elementary, “Poems” 3rd Place, Kayden Maskelony, Nansemond Parkway, “Kayden’s Book of Poems”

6th Grade

  • Fiction – 1st Place, Kylee Newberry, Forest Glen Middle, “Behind the Curtain” 2nd Place, Deja Ward, Kings Fork Middle, “The Scary Old Lady and the 3 Children”
  • Nonfiction – 1st Place, Latavion Wynn, Kings Fork Middle, “The Life of Harriet Tubman” 2nd Place, Savannah Vann, Forest Glen Middle, “The Unexpected Surprise”
  • Autobiography – 1st Place, Laquan Porter, Kings Fork Middle, “About Me”
  • Poetry – 1st Place, Emma Rotzler, Forest Glen Middle, “Poems All Around”

7th Grade

  • Fiction – 1st Place, Seth Carter, Kings Fork Middle, “The Football Game”
  • Nonfiction – 1st Place, Kamarion Scott, Kings Fork Middle, “Helping the Poor”
  • Autobiography – 1st Place, Del’breona King, Kings Fork Middle, “My Life”
  • Poetry – 1st Place, Kayla Littlejohn, Kings Fork Middle, “Blooming: A Journey of Growth”

8th Grade

  • Fiction – 1st Place, Elizabeth Culbert, John Yates Middle, “Carly’s Cookie Catastrophe” 2nd Place, Alyssa Upton, John Yates Middle, “The Attack” 3rd Place, Molly Creekmore, Kings Fork Middle, “Dream of Love”
  • Nonfiction – 1st Place, Chloe Swenda, John Yates Middle, “A Years Recovery” 2nd Place, Micah Lane, Kings Fork Middle, “Tom Brady”
  • Autobiography – 1st Place, Connor Whitworth, John Yates Middle, “My Life” 2nd Place, Hailey Edic, Kings Fork Middle, “My Life Story of My Life” 3rd Place, Jaqueline Rangel, John Yates Middle, “All About Me” 3rd Place, Mary Cosby, John Yates Middle, “The Story of My Life”
  • Poetry – 1st Place, Jasmine Ullrich, John Yates Middle, “Flash Photography” 2nd Place, Kelly Emberton, John Yates Middle, “A Collection of Poems” 3rd Place, Adriana Roman, John Yates Middle, “Poems From Up Here” 3rd Place, Eric Brantley, Kings Fork Middle, “My Book of Poems”

High School

  • Fiction 1st Place, 9th Grade, Shatyra Leslie, Kings Fork High School, “In Love With My Best Friend”


Preschoolers for Integrated Role Model Program

March 1, 2017



Suffolk Public Schools is currently looking for parents of children without delays who are interested in exploring the opportunities provided to all children in this classroom following the 2017-18 elementary school schedule at no cost to the parent, with transportation being provided via school bus.


Suffolk Public Schools operates classrooms for children who are developmentally delayed (delays in cognitive, motor, communication or perceptual skills), ages 3 to 5. The integrated/role model program at Driver, Kilby Shores, Booker T. Washington and Northern Shores Elementary Schools offers the opportunity for children without developmental delays or disabilities to join the preschool classroom daily to develop friendships and learn together through play.  


To be considered for enrollment/interview, students must reside in the city of Suffolk and be 3 years old by September 5, 2017. Please be aware that spaces for this program are limited for each preschool site. Please use this link to be directed to our online application.  Applications for consideration must be submitted by 4:00 p.m. Friday, April 7, 2017.  Those who are selected for an interview will be contact by telephone.  Those who do not make it to the interview process will receive a letter by email or mail.


Questions may be directed to Jennifer Worrell, Preschool Educational Diagnostician for the Early Childhood Resource Center, at 925-6767.