Friday, May 4 is School Lunch Hero Day …

School Lunch Hero Day is a national celebration to recognize and honor the dedicated school nutrition program professionals who prepare healthy and delicious school meals for our students every school day.

To recognize their hard work and dedication, Suffolk Public Schools will join schools around the country in celebrating School Lunch Hero Day on Friday, May 4.

Initiated by the School Nutrition Association and Jarrett Krosoczka, author of the “Lunch Lady” graphic novel series, the day aims to highlight the ways in which school nutrition professionals make a difference in the lives of the students they serve.

School nutrition professionals must balance many roles and follow federal, state, and local regulations to ensure safe and healthy meals are available to students. Federal nutrition standards are designed to ensure that school nutrition programs offer fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat or fat-free milk while meeting limits on calories, sodium, and unhealthy fats.  Every day the school nutrition professionals translate these into appealing meals to feed young minds and support academic success.

For many children, school meals are the most important meals of their day. In Virginia, 53 million breakfasts and 114.3 million lunches were served last school year. More than 229,075 breakfasts and 634,850 lunches are served to Virginia’s students each school day.

Driver Elementary Farewell Celebration – May 8

Celebrating 50 Years of History

– 1968 to 2018 –

Driver Elementary invites the community, former students and staff to join them Tuesday, May 8 at 6 p.m. for a special closing ceremony.

A special cake-cutting ceremony at 5:45 p.m. will be held for participants and guests.

Please RSVP to

Driver Elementary School will be closing its doors on June 15.

Students and staff will relocate in September to the newly constructed Florence Bowser Elementary School.

The Driver building will be used for parent and teacher resource centers, and possible alternative programs.

New School Websites to be Launched Over Break

We’re springing into action this Spring Break … even though schools are officially closed.

Suffolk Public Schools will be launching a new division website and new websites for each school.   Expected to “go live” on Tuesday, April 3, the web URL addresses will not change for the division site or for any of the school sites.

No changes are being made to Staff Blogs or the Student or Staff Portals.

Our new websites are designed to maximize functionality and ease of use for web visitors.  They will bring students, parents, staff, and community members news and information in a more concise, consistent fashion.

The new designs showcase information in an easier-to-read format including “quick links” to our most popular content.  We’re confident you’ll find the new websites easier to use and find the information important to you.

The new websites use responsive web design services to ensure its website can be easily read and navigated on a wide range of devices, from desktops to mobile phones and tablets.  The websites will also meet federal ADA compliance making information accessible to individuals with disabilities.

The division and school websites were last updated in 2011.   We are expanding our relationship with School Messanger, which has provided the division’s parent notification system since 2012.  School Messenger will now be hosting the new sites and providing support.

A mobile app for Suffolk Public Schools — which pulls information from the new web pages — will be ready to launch by June.


Summer in Italy? Sister Cities Planning Youth Exchange

… Are you interested in spending two weeks in Italy as part of the 2018 Suffolk Sister Cities’ Summer Youth Exchange?

… Are you interesting in hosting an Italian student ambassador here at home?

… Are you interested in attending the Sister Cities International Youth Leadership Summit?

DEADLINE:  March 28, 2018

Find out more by clicking here.

Read this PDF for details and an application.

27th Annual Career Expo

Enhance your interview skills with employers from the Hampton Roads area.  Click the link below to view the brochure for more information.

27th Annual Career Expo

Revised 2017-18 Calendar … New School Hours Start Feb. 5

Open this news article for a printable PDF of January 2018 to June 2018 calendar, revised because of make-up time.

Click on headline first to get to the calendar.  Click here to open. 

Open House on Feb. 20 …

Middle & high school students are their parents …

Come learn more about opportunities at the College & Career Academy at Pruden.

Congratulations to 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.

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 at John Yeates Middle School

Division-Wide Support Staff Award:
Donna Purkey
Tutor for English Language Learners at 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.

Are Your Teachers in This Grown-Up Spelling Bee?

Learn what seven schools will have teacher teams …

Can you spell F-U-N?  Then join us for the 2nd Annual Grown-Up Spelling Bee presented by the Suffolk Education Foundation to benefit Suffolk Public Schools.

The Grown-Up Spelling Bee will be held Saturday, Feb. 10, beginning at 2 p.m. at King’s Fork High School.

Teams of three adults will work together to spell words and compete for the coveted title of “Best Spellers in Suffolk.” Teams that face elimination on can continue the fun by buying a “spell check” or “stinging” another team by passing on a difficult word. Teams are invited to wear costumes — the more creative, the better! A buzzing hive of spectators will vote for the best team costumes.

Community and corporate teams ready to compete for the 2018 title include:

  • Suffolk News-Herald, the event’s Queen Bee sponsor
  • RRMM Architects
  • BayPort Credit Union,
  • Suffolk Business Women
  • City of Suffolk Library

Schools teams include:

  • Superintendent’s Super Bees
  • Booker T. Washington Elementary
  • Creekside Elementary
  • Elephant’s Fork Elementary
  • Kilby Shores Elementary
  • King’s Fork Middle
  • John Yeates Middle
  • Lakeland High

The 1st Annual Grown-Up Spelling Bee teams raised close to $10,000.

Tickets are $5 a person … Children 8 and under are free.

*NOTE: Weather Make-Up Date – Feb. 17. 

Contact Bethanne Bradshaw, Public Information Officer, at 925-6752 for more information.











Thanks to all who supported the Suffolk Education Foundation’s first annual Grown-Up Spelling Bee, held in 2016.  Kil-Bee’s Revenge of the Words captured the title (Kilby Shores), with Alpha Bees as first runner-up (Pioneer & Oakland).  Here are some photos from the BUZZ-tastic night!

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NOTE:  Contact Bethanne Bradshaw for the 2018 event.

How Does SPS Announces Schedule Changes?

Emergency School Closings:  

When a decision is made to close Suffolk Public Schools because of weather conditions, or to close a single school for other reasons, detailed information will be provided in the following places:

  • Television stations … WVEC-13, WAVY-10, WTKR-3 … and their websites
  • School Messenger … Automated phone calls with a recorded message will begin calling the homes of students and staff. The numbers called are based on the contact information stored in the division’s database.
  • SPS Website …
  • SPS Facebook …
  • A recorded message will be available after hours at 925-6750.

Delayed Opening

Suffolk Public Schools will consider opening schools on a two-hour delay, due to inclement weather, hazardous conditions, power outages, or other emergency situations. Bus pick-ups for all students would begin either one hour or two hours later than normal pick-up times.

“Delayed Opening” means that any before-school child care will also open under the same delay.  Elementary student early drop-off would be delayed until 10:30 a.m. Breakfast would not be served on either delayed opening schedule. Lunch would be served. Dismissal time and after-school activities would remain the same unless otherwise noted.