October is Bullying Prevention Month

Suffolk Public Schools joins both a state and national focus this month to promote awareness of school bullying.  The Suffolk School Board passed a resolution last month to demonstrate how educators, community leaders and parents play a critical role in creating a climate where bullying is not tolerated.  It has been proven that when adults and children stand together bullying ends.

Childhood bullying is a significant problem nationwide. It can cause school absenteeism, mental and physical stress, poor school performance, poor self-esteem, and in some cases, school violence or suicide.  Statistics show that 160,000 children in the United States miss school each day as a result of being bullied.  More than 20 percent of school-aged children report being bullied each year – upwards of 13 million students.

“More than one of every five school-aged children report being bullied,” said Julie Hertzog, director of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, which sponsors Unity Day and founded National Bullying Prevention Month in 2006. “It’s important these students know they are not alone and that they have the right to feel safe. By joining together and wearing ORANGE on Unity Day, we can send the unified message that we care about student’s physical and emotional health and that bullying will no longer be accepted in this society.” 

Schools throughout SPS will participate in Unity Day by wearing orange on Wednesday, October 24.  The theme is “Together against Bullying: United for Kindness, Acceptance, and Inclusion.”  Wearing orange on Unity Day sends a powerful message of support, hope, and unity again bullying.

The bullying prevention efforts in Suffolk Public Schools include school-level campaigns, classroom discussions led by guidance counselors, and an expanding school-wide programs which teach, model and provide incentives for positive behavior.

In addition, the division has an anonymous Bullying Tip Line — (757) 538-5438 – and an online Bullying Complaint form.   Information on what SPS considers to be bullying is highlighted at www.spsk12.net/programs/bullying-prevention as well as in the Student Handbook and the Student Code of Conduct.

College & Career Readiness Fair – Saturday, Nov. 17

Have you registered yet?  Open to all Middle School and High School students and their parents.

WHAT:        College & Career Readiness Fair

WHO:          Students in Grades 6-12, and Parents

WHEN:        Saturday, November 17

WHERE:      King’s Fork Middle School

Link here to REGISTER NOW.

Reservations encouraged.  Walk-In participation allowed.

  • 7:30 a.m. – Registration Opens
  • 8 a.m. – Opening Remarks in Auditorium
  • 8:30 a.m. – Workshop Session 1
  • 9:30 a.m. – Workshop Session 2
  • 10:30 a.m. – Workshop Session 3
  • 11:30 a.m. – Workshop Session 4
  • 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – College Info Tables and Other Exhibitors

The free event is designed for middle school students, high schools students, and their parents.  Each year, close to 400 participants benefit from this event. Reservations are encouraged, but walk-in participation is allowed. A Chick-fil-A lunch is provided to registered participants. (See the registration link below.)

During the College and Career Readiness Fair, participants are able to attend workshops covering a variety of topics within the areas of Planning for High School, Preparing for College, and Transitioning to the Workforce. Some of this year’s workshops include Developing a Four-Year High School Plan; Using Online College and Career Planning Tools; Graduating College Debt-free; and Discovering Non-Traditional Careers.

A variety of college, training institutes, and military representatives will have exhibit tables in the gym to speak with students and parents about post-secondary options. Again this year will be local companies sharing perspectives on career clusters, helping guests understand the training required, skills and aptitude needed, and types of occupations under that umbrella.  Some career cluster examples include Health Sciences, Human Services, Information Technology, Manufacturing, Hospitality & Tourism, and Law & Public Safety.

Register today at https://goo.gl/E5DcZr

High School Students Encouraged to Submit Questions for the Candidates

LHS Students Host Political Forums – Oct 11-12 ………………

With election of state and local officials just a month away, Lakeland High junior Paul Meadors has organized a two-night event to inform local voters of their choices.

Meadors is encouraging any high school student in Suffolk to submit questions they would like the candidates to answer to tinyurl.com/yavpoytj

The first event will focus on local government elections, with invitations extended to City Council candidates and School Board candidates. The local election forum will be held at Lakeland High on Thursday, Oct. 11, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

City Council candidates who have confirmed their participation include Leroy Bennett (Cypress Borough) and Mike Duman (Chuckatuck Borough).  Both incumbents are running unopposed.  The Holy Neck and Suffolk Boroughs also have City Council elections, and candidates have been invited.

School Board candidates who plan to participate include Sherri Story and Diane Foster, running for the Chuckatuck Borough seat, Karen Jenkins running for Cypress Borough, and Lorita Mayo and Sonya Allen, seeking the Holy Neck Borough seat. Voters in the Suffolk Borough will also elect a School Board member.  All candidates have been invited.

The second event — on Friday, Oct. 12 at 6:30 p.m. — will focus on state elections, with invitations to candidates for the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives 4th District.  Representatives for U.S. Senate candidates Timothy Kaine and Corey Stewart will participate, as well as 4th District candidates Ryan McAdams, Donald McEachin and Peter Wells.

Meadors is encouraging any high school student in Suffolk to submit questions they would like the candidates to answer to tinyurl.com/yavpoytj

“I wanted to do something within my interests which would positively impact my community and also to increase student civic engagement,” Meadors explained. “Thirdly, and finally, I wanted to create a more informed electorate going into the 2018 midterm elections.”

Suffolk Public Schools: OPEN Monday, Sept. 17

EVEN DAY for Middle & High Schools.

Key Dates on 2018-19 School Calendar

More instructional hours built into the 2018-19 School Year Calendar means fewer make-up days.

An additional 10 minutes will be added to the elementary instructional day next year … and the legislature agreed to allow the mandated 15-minute elementary recess to count toward instructional hours.


• September 4, 2018 – First Day of School

… Oct. 4 – Interim Reports Issued
… Nov 5 – End of 1st Grading Period

• November 6, 2018 – Virtual Clerical Day (Election Day)
     … No School for Students

… 2nd Grading Period Begins

• November 12, 2018 – Veterans’ Day Holiday

• November 16, 2018 – Parent/Teacher Conference Day
     … No School for Students
… Report Cards Distributed
     … Staff Development Day for non-instructional staff

• November 21, 2018 (early dismissal)


• November 22 – 23, 2018 – Thanksgiving Holiday

… Dec. 13 – Interim Reports Issued

• December 21, 2018 – January 1, 2019 – Winter Break

• January 2, 2019 – School Reopens

• January 21, 2019 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day Holiday

• January 23-28, 2019 – First Semester Exams

• January 24-28, 2019 – Early Dismissal for All Students

… Jan. 28 – End of 1st Semester (2nd Grading Period)
… Jan. 29 – 2nd Semester Begins (3rd Grading Period)

• January 29, 2019  –  Early Dismissal for All Students
… Clerical Half-Day for Teachers

• February 15, 2019 – Parent/Teacher Conference Day
… Report Cards Distributed

     … No School for Students

• February 18, 2019 – Presidents’ Day Holiday

… Mar. 4 – Interim Reports Issued

• March 5, 2019 — Staff Development for ALL staff

     … No School for Students

… Apr. 5 – End of 3rd Grading Period
… Apr. 8 – 4th Grading Period Begins

• April 15 – April 19, 2019  Spring Break

… Apr. 24 – Report Cards Distributed
… May 15 – Interim Reports Issued

• May 27, 2019 ​- Memorial Day Holiday

• June 8, 2019 – Graduation Ceremonies

• June 11-13, 2019 – Second Semester Exams

• June 12-13, 2019 – Early Dismissal for All Students

… End of Second Semester (4th Grading Period)
… Report Cards Distributed

• June 13, 2019 – Last day of school

• June 14, 2019 –Teacher Clerical Day

Make Up Days

• Up to nine missed days of school will be made up by the additional instructional hours built into the school calendar.

• If additional days are missed due to inclement weather, the make-up schedule will be determined by the school board.

Guiding Principles

● Ten (10) days of pre-service for new teachers

● Seven (7) days of pre-service for returning teachers

● First day of school must be the Tuesday after Labor Day

● Must have at least 180 instructional days — equivalent of 990 hours

● Election days in November and May should be used either as staff development, clerical or a combination of staff development and clerical

• When Easter occurs prior to the 15th of April, Spring Break is scheduled the week following Easter

     –Easter   ~   April 21, 2019

     –Spring Break  ~  April 15 – April 19, 2019

• When Easter occurs on or after April 15, Spring Break should be scheduled the week preceding Easter

Calendar Committee Members

• Parents
• Teachers
• School Administrators
• Bus Drivers Representative
• School Admin Office Representatives

New School Hours for 2018-19

Suffolk Public Schools will adjust its school day schedule for the 2018-19 school year as follows:

Tier 1 – Middle Schools

Start of School: 7:25 a.m.
School Dismissal:  2:00 p.m.
Early Dismissal:  11:25 a.m.
Drop-Off after 7:00 a.m.

Tier 2 – High Schools
Start of School: 8:25 a.m.
School Dismissal:  3:00 p.m.
Early Dismissal:  12:25 p.m.
Drop-Off after 8:00 a.m.

Tier 3 – Elementary Schools
Start of School: 9:25 a.m.
School Dismissal:  3:50 p.m.
Early Dismissal:  1:15 p.m.
Drop-Off after 9:00 a.m.

Get Connected …  Introducing the New Mobile App for Suffolk Public Schools

Stay in touch with Suffolk Public Schools by using our brand new mobile app.

Download on your mobile device today to receive:

  • Convenience on the Go … One-stop spot to receive emergency notifications, calendar events, school menus, and links to Home Access Center, School Bus Tracker, Volunteer Connect, and more.
  • Personalized Communication … You select which school(s) you want to access.Connect to one or more news feeds or calendars all in one place.
  • Quick Access … Visit the “Schools” section for quick access to your school’s phone number, website information, and location map.Click to call or visit the website right from the app.
  • Up-to-Date Information … Check out the latest district-wide and school news all in one place.Stay in the loop with what’s happening in Suffolk Public Schools and at your child’s school.
  • Push Notifications … Select “yes” when you download the app to receive the latest push notifications from the division and your school.Learn quickly about cancelled events, schedule changes, and other reminders.
  • Calendar Coordination … Add events to your personal calendar directly from the “Events” section on the app.

In April, Suffolk Public Schools launched its new division and school websites.  The mobile app pulls information directly from those sites.

The new web face is more than just a simple visual makeover.  The redesign goes deeper, and:

  • Replaces outdated web technology with current functions expected by web visitors
  • Delivers news and information in a more concise, consistent fashion
  • Provides easier-to-read format including “quick links” to the most popular content
  • Allows web content to be responsive so easily navigated on any mobile device, such as a tablet or cell phone
  • Meets federal ADA compliance making information accessible to individuals with disabilities
  • Provides alternate language options for families with English Language Learners
  • Offers a robust Search tool to locate keyword content
  • Delivers emergency messages to all school websites simultaneously
  • Offers freshly picked SPS videos to all school sites at the same time and places them as part of front-page news
  • Adds links to division and school social media accounts, such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  • Connects to automated notification system to send announcements by phone, email, text, and now by mobile app

Suffolk Public Schools is expanding its relationship with School Messenger, which has provided the division’s parent notification system since 2012.  School Messenger will now be hosting and providing support for the new websites, mobile app and notification system, allowing parents to receive automated announcements by phone, email, text, and now by mobile app.

Scholarships Offered for Sister Cities Youth Leadership Summit

The Sister Cities International Youth Leadership Summit, to be held August 1-5, 2018, in Colorado.
Through a specialized diplomatic simulation (typically sponsored by the US State Department), site visits, speaker sessions, and peer collaboration, the students will learn how different national interests drive international cooperation on critical issues. The Summit is wonderful for developing problem solving and leadership skills. Additionally, participants meet other students from around the country and world.
The Suffolk Sister Cities organization has scholarship funds available for students interested in attending,  so each participant’s share is just $100. This covers the meals and lodging at the University of Denver, as well as activity costs.
Enrollment is quickly filling up and registration is expected to close within the next few weeks. Interested students should use the attached registration form if they would like to take advantage of scholarship funds. It can be mailed to SSCI, PO Box 796, Suffolk, VA 23439 or scanned and emailed to Maryanne Persons at ma6persons@gmail.com
Students will also need to procure their own airline ticket to the conference. We have additional funds to assist with, though not fully cover, transportation.
If you or your students/parents have any questions, they may contact me at 757-651-8826, after 4 p.m.
Additional information about the conference can be obtained at: sistercities.org/yls

Celebrating School Nurses …

Wednesday, May 9, 2018 is National School Nurse Day!

We honor more than 95,000 school nurses in the United States who make a difference in the lives of children every day!

The theme this year is School Nurses: Advocates for 21st Century Student Health.

Five Ways a School Nurse Benefits the School

Attendance — School nurses improve attendance through health promotion, disease prevention and disease management. Students with a full-time school nurse have about half the student illness- or injury-related early releases from school where no school nurse is present.

Academics – Improved attendance means the healthy student is in the classroom and ready to learn. School Nurses enable better performance, which also contributes to reducing drop-out rates.

Time – School nurses save time for principals, teachers and staff. A school nurse in the building saves principals, teachers, and clerical staff a considerable amount of time that they would have spent addressing health concerns of students. A school nurse in the building saves:
• Principals almost an hour a day
• Teachers almost 20 minutes a day
• Clerical staff over 45 minutes a day

Staff Wellness – School nurses improve the general health of staff. According to school reports, principals, teachers, and clerical staff are VERY satisfied with having school nurses in their schools for several reasons:
• Teachers can focus on teaching
• Office staff spend less time calling parents and sending students home
• Healthy staff means increased attendance and productivity

Accountability – School nurses help schools stay accountable.
• Promoting compliance with federal and state law mitigates lawsuits
• Advocating for adequate staffing aligns with Healthy People 2020 recommendations of the ratio of one school nurse per 750 well students (1:750)
• Preparing for emergencies saves lives and property
• Addressing student mental health links to academic achievement School nurses are instrumental in the identification and referral to community resources for health risks and are often the only health professional who see students on a regular basis.

School nurses are responsible for: 

• Significantly decreasing the amount of days missed due to asthma, the leading cause of school absenteeism, accounting for more than 14 million missed days annually
• Managing students with chronic conditions such as diabetes and seizures to allow them to stay in class
• Identifying and treating accidents and injuries
• Counseling students about physical and emotional issues

Healthy Children = Academic Success


— Allen, G. (2003). The impact of elementary school nurses on student attendance. Journal of School Nursing, 10(4), 225- 231.
— Baisch, M.J., Lundeen, S.P., & Murphy, M.K. (2011). Evidence-based research on the value of school nurse in an urban school system. Journal of School Health, 81(2), 74-80. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1746-1561.2010.00563.x/abstract
— Engelke, M., Guttu, M., Warren, M., & Swanson, M. (2008). School nurse case management for children with chronic illness: Health, academic, and quality of life outcomes. The Journal of School Nursing, 24(4), 205-214. — Fauteux, N. (2011). Unlocking the Potential of School Nursing: Keeping Children Healthy, In School, and Ready to Learn. Charting Nursing’s Future, 14, 1-8. Retrieved from http://www.rwjf.org/files/research/cnf14.pdf
— Levy, M., Heffner, B, Stewart, T., & Beeman, G. (2006). The efficacy of asthma case management in an urban school district in reducing school absences and hospitalizations for asthma. Journal of School Health, 76(6), 320-324
— Puskar, K. & Bernardo, L. (2007). Mental health and academic achievement: Role of school nurses. Journal of Specialists in Pediatric Nursing, 12(4), 215-223.

Take Time to Thank a Teacher …

As part of Teacher Appreciation Week, Suffolk Public Schools is supporting the 2018 “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 Virginia Lottery’s Thank a Teacher website:  http://thankateacherva.com/ 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 1. This invitation-only celebration recognizes each school’s Teacher of the Year, as well as the City-Wide Teachers of the Year,
  • Thursday, May 10 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.