School Schedule Change & Zones to be Voted on at March 8 School Board Meeting

February 22, 2018

The Suffolk School Board will hold its regular monthly meeting on Thursday, March 8 in the City Council Chambers, located in City Hall at 442 W. Washington St.

  • The 7 p.m. regular meeting will be cablecast live on the city’s channel (Charter Channel 190).
  • A public hearing on the 2018-19 Operating Budget proposal will start at 7 p.m.
  • It will also stream live online at
  • Video of the sessions will be available on the division’s YouTube channel by the following Monday.
  • The agenda and board material are available the week of the meeting online at

For more information, contact Cynthia Chavis, Clerk of the School Board, at 925-6752.

CLICK on the items below to read full articles about each topic.


Board Weighs 2 Options on School Hour Changes




Rezoning Preliminary Proposals for 2018-19

Teen Depression: Parent Session – March 14

March 2, 2018

Student Mental Wellness: Suffolk Public Schools to Rev Up the Discussion


Suffolk Public Schools is bolstering its student mental wellness curriculum and building a stronger safety net for Suffolk teens by engaging parents and caring adults in a new, division-wide initiative.

Partnering with The Sarah Michelle Peterson Foundation, Suffolk Public Schools is starting conversations around a video created by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to educate staff, teens and the community about teen depression.  These discussions are the first phase of an initiative the school division is undertaking to enhance support for students’ behavioral and mental well-being.

“More than Sad: Teen Depression” is a video designed to help students recognize the signs of depression in themselves or others, to challenge the stigma surrounding depression, and to learn how to ask for help.  All Suffolk 10th-graders will see the “More than Sad” video, following a companion video and adult discussion shown to high school teachers and support staff, and then to parents and the community.  Adults will learn about warning signs, what to say, and how to guide teens to help.  During the evening presentations, parents will preview what their students will be seeing.


Schedule of Parent & Community Presentations:

  • Wednesday, March 14 – Lakeland High School at 6:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 21 — King’s Fork High School at 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 1 – Nansemond River High School at 6:30 p.m.

NOTE:  This parent/community presentation is an adult discussion covering the information students will receive in their classroom. It is not intended for young audiences as sensitive
is discussed. 


Anyone who works with teens such as coaches, community sports directors, youth pastors, activity directors, and scout leaders is invited and encouraged to attend any of the parent and community discussions.  


“More than Sad: Teen Depression” training is being offered in all three Suffolk high schools beginning with all high school teachers and support staff at King’s Fork High School during the week of Feb. 19, followed by Nansemond River and Lakeland high schools in March.


All high school sophomores will view the video in their Health & PE class.  A trained mental health facilitator along with school guidance counselors will then lead a discussion about depression.


For more information, please contact Cheri Hinshelwood, communications specialist, at (757) 925-6752.


Learn More about the Proposed 2018-19 Budget

February 8, 2018

The Superintendent’s Proposed 2018-2019 Operating Budget was presented to the Suffolk School Board on February 8, 2018.

View a PDF of the budget plan.

Have a question to ask about the budget?  Use this form to submit your questions.


Parent Perception Survey Available Feb. 19 – Mar. 16

February 16, 2018

  • As part of the school division’s assessment of each school’s educational environment, parents of students are being invited to participate in the 2018 Parent Perception Survey.
  • The survey will be conducted starting Monday, February 19 and will continue to be available through Friday, March 19, 2018.
  • Schools will use the information from the survey to help identify areas for improvement. This survey provides an excellent opportunity for parents to provide feedback about Suffolk Public Schools and to express perceptions about the learning environment at their child’s school.
  • On Monday, February 19, the official survey invitation will be emailed to parents and will include a school-specific web link to take parents directly to an online survey for each child’s school.
  • The survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete.
  • Responses will remain anonymous and be combined with responses of other families at the school.
  • If preferred, parents can pick up a paper copy of the survey at their child’s school.
  • Click here for the 2017 Survey Report presentation made to the Suffolk School Board 8-17-17
  • Contact Bethanne Bradshaw, Public Information Officer, at (757) 925-6752 or by email at for more information.


Role Models Sought for Preschool Program

March 1, 2017

For the 2018-19 school year, 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 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, Oakland 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 4, 2018. Please be aware that spaces for this program are limited for each preschool site. Please use this link — Integrated/Role Model Preschool Program 2018 — to be directed to our online application.  Applications for consideration must be submitted by 4:00 p.m. Friday, April 6, 2018.  Those who are selected for an interview will be contacted 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.

Superintendent’s Star Award Winners Shine

January 23, 2018

Superintendent’s Star Award Winners to be Celebrated Feb. 6


Congratulations to 15 division employees who have been named winners of the Superintendent’s Star Award for First Semester 2017-18.  A recognition reception will be held on Tuesday, February 6 at Creekside Elementary School.

Judges consider initiative, school spirit, creativity, commitment, and attitude to recognize those who are making a real difference in the lives of students.

Enjoy this video of the recognition event:

A total of 15 staff members — out of 69 nominees — were selected as top honorees for the Star Award recognition.

Division-Wide Instructional Staff Award:
Andre Paquette

Band Teacher
John Yeates Middle School


Division-Wide Support Staff Award:
Donna Purkey
Tutor for English Language Learners
Northern Shores Elementary School


Andre Paquette was nominated by parent Samantha Linneman, who said he “provides the perfect blend of structure, support, and discipline that kids in a music program need while instilling the work ethic required to be successful.”   Paquette was applauded for his willingness to work with individual students beyond school hours as they prepare for district band auditions and school concerts.  His nominator said he “teaches all the subjects rolled into one” … teaching math when student musicians figure out rhythm patterns and count out beats per measure… teaching foreign language by providing translations for musical terms shared by the composer, like “fortissimo” to direct them to play very loud … and teaching history so students will understand the times and setting of specific compositions.  Paquette “gives kids the gift of music,” Linneman explained.  When many band students pick up an instrument for the first time in sixth grade, it’s quite an undertaking for them to decipher visual notations from sheet music to finger movements on an instrument to actually creating pleasantly audible sounds.  Linnemann said resource teachers whose subjects do not focus on SOL scores often don’t get recognized for their contributions to students.  Paquette “has significantly impacted my daughter by encouraging and supporting her development” as a musician, a student, and a young person.


Donna Purkey was nominated by guidance counselor Maria Eiring, who praised Purkey’s leadership and dedication to students at Northern Shores Elementary.   She tutors English Language Learners, and helps Spanish-speaking families make the transition to Suffolk Public Schools.  A military wife and mother of two, Purkey has published a children’s book called Miss You to Pieces: A Deployment Story & Project Idea for Kids.  She is the volunteer adviser for the military’s program “Anchored 4 Life,” which promotes resilience in military connected children and families.  Her own family has managed various deployments.  She has a sixth-grader and a fifth-grader.  On a broader scale, Purkey is a key factor in the success of two after-school programs for Northern Shores students — Girls on the Run and Hero Boys,  Eiring added: “I am blessed to work with her … She is loved and well-received by our staff, students and families.  Donna Purkey is a gem!”


Additional Support Staff Honorees

  • Ella Mae Anderson, a paraprofessional at King’s Fork High School
  • Larry Chapman, a bus driver for John Yeates Middle School
  • Barbara Miskin, a bus driver for Creekside Elementary
  • Stephen Shapiro, a master tradesworker for Suffolk Public Schools

Additional Instructional Staff Honorees

  • Melanie Burnor, a teacher at Northern Shores Elementary
  • Allison Greene, a media specialist at Kilby Shores Elementary
  • Jessica Johnson, a teacher at Kilby Shores Elementary
  • Erik Johnson, a teacher at Creekside Elementary
  • Karen Jones, a guidance counselor at Kilby Shores Elementary
  • Austin Kulp, a teacher at Kilby Shores Elementary
  • Karen Lawson, a teacher at Oakland Elementary
  • Leah Moulton, a teacher at Kilby Shores Elementary
  • Valerie Smith, a teacher at King’s Fork Middle School
Second semester nominations for the Superintendent’s Star Award program are due by March 31.

Link here for details on the award program.

Link here for the NOMINATION FORM.

Does Your Organization have Community Service Opportunities for High School Students?

August 9, 2017

Community Service Required for Graduation

If you are a community organization with Volunteer Opportunities available to high school students, click here to share your information. 


The community service requirement is designed to promote civic responsibility through active participation in service experiences, to enhance the students’ ability and desire to impact the community, to foster a sense of caring for others, and to develop a habit of volunteer service to those in need as a part of the College and Career Readiness initiative.  Students must earn 50 hours of community service before graduation.

The information contained herein is distributed by Suffolk Public Schools as a public service. The community service opportunities listed here from organizations outside of Suffolk Public Schools are not sponsored, endorsed, or in any way connected to Suffolk Public Schools or the Suffolk City School Board.

Board Weighs 2 Options on School Hour Changes

February 26, 2018



This is OPTION #2 presented at the Feb. 8th meeting:

Tier Schools Bus Arrival Start of School School Dismissal
T1 FGM, JFK, JYMS, KFMS, FCMS SECEP 7:00 7:25 2:00
T2 LHS, KFHS, NRHS 8:00 8:25 3:00
T3 FBES, NSE,HPE, MBE, KSE, PIO, BTW, EFE, OES, CSE, NPE 9:00 9:25 3:50

See the schedule change survey results, by clicking here.

December Information:


The Suffolk School Board at its Dec. 14, 2017 meeting heard suggestions from the Superintendent about changing the school schedule for the 2018-19 school year.  The board will make a decision in conjunction with its vote on the rezoning plan for 2018-19.

The online survey closed on Friday, Jan. 19.  The School Board will weigh the community input as one of many factors in its decision.

The information below was included in the 12-14-17 presentation to the Board:
Advantages of Proposed Changes to Tiers
  • Current tiers do not allow enough time between high school runs and Elementary A runs
    • (Tiers 2 and 3).
  • New proposal: One (1) hour between tiers which would allow more on-time arrivals.
  • New proposal: Elementary students home earlier in the afternoon.
  • New proposal: High school tier requires fewer drivers; therefore, more drivers will be available for athletic and activity runs.
  • In addition, research shows there are several benefits to later start times for high school students. This includes: increased attendance rates, increased academic performance, decreases in disciplinary action and decreases in student-involved car accidents.
    • Source:  American Psychological Association
      Weintraub, K. (2016). Young and sleep deprived Psychologists’ research supports later school start times for teens’ mental health. Monitor on Psychology, 47(2), 46. Retrieved January 23, 2018, from
Tier Schools Bus Arrival Start of School School Dismissal
T1 FGM, JFK, JYMS, KFMS 7:00 7:25 2:00
T2 LHS, KFHS, NRHS 8:00 8:25 3:00
T3 DES, NSE, HPE, MBE, KSE 8:50 9:20 3:35
T4 PIO, BTW, EFE, OES, CSE, NPE 9:05 9:35 3:50
Proposed Bus Tiers – Option #1
Tier Schools Bus Arrival Start of School School Dismissal
T1 FGM, JFK, JYMS, KFMS, FCMS SECEP 7:00 7:25 2:00
T2 FBES, NSE,HPE, MBE, KSE, PIO, BTW, EFE, OES, CSE, NPE 8:00 8:35 3:00
T3 LHS, KFHS, NRHS 9:00 9:25 4:00
Advantages of Additional Time for Elementary Schools
  • Increased instructional time
  • Additional planning time during the school day
  • 10 additional minutes provides approximately 36 additional hours of instruction in a school year
  • This allows for about six banked days for inclement weather
  • More half days for teacher planning and record-keeping at the elementary level
Increasing Elementary Instructional Time
Current School Hours Proposed Hours
ELEMENTARY 6 hours 15 Min

(5 hours 35 Min)

6 Hours 25 Min

(5 hours 45 Min)

SECONDARY 6 Hours 35 Min

(6 Hours 5 Min)

6 Hours 35 Min

(6 Hours 5 Min)