CHARLES CITY COUNTY, Va (WRIC) — 8News reached out to every school system in Central Virginia to see how superintendents are preparing for the coming school year. Here is what Superintendent Dr. David Gaston of Charles City County had to say.
1. What do you believe your school system’s biggest strength is?
The strength of Charles City Public Schools lies both in its size and its people. As a small, rural school division of 640 students in PK-12, our class sizes average 15 students and provide our dedicated and professional teachers and staff with an opportunity to connect and form a relationship with every single one of our students and their families. Our schools are true community schools with teachers who have taught in CCPS an average of 16 years and remain dedicated to the developing self-sustaining, responsible and educated young people.
2. What are you most looking forward to this school year?
Obviously, we look forward to the same thing every school year – the return of all of our students to a brand new school year. During the 2019-20 school year, however, there will be more focused efforts, training and practice to support the socio-emotional needs of our students. Our teachers will be engaged in trauma-informed care training through this coming school year. This will also be the second year of our new Community Den, which assists our families with a wide range of support services, from clothing and non-perishable items to technology support and computer access. We are also engaging students in more learning experiences outside of their classrooms, including more clubs and activities that are of interest to our students. Getting our students, teachers and families excited about learning as we promote and support student success is going to make this a great year for learning in Charles City Public Schools.
3. What changes can parents expect to see in your school system this year?
The School Board continues to make important strides in upgrading and improving our school facilities and technology resources. A new campus cell tower, upgraded technology support, a continuation of our division-wide one-to-one laptop initiative and online learning options for all students in grades 3-12, more real-world experiences and practical learning in our curriculum and classrooms and increased opportunities for internships and community connections are only some of the changes that our community can expect to see in our daily learning at CCPS.
4. Is there anything else you want parents to know ahead of this school year?
Charles City County Public Schools is working to become an exemplary model of rural education, offering a full Army Junior ROTC Program, clubs, athletics and magnet school options for our students at Bridging Communities Technical Center, Maggie Walker and Appomattox Regional Governor’s Schools and Code RVA. Dual enrollment courses are also offered through John Tyler Community College. Advanced Placement courses are also offered to students both through traditional face-to-face and online course options. Charles City High School was also selected this year to be part of a $100,000 VDOE grant award in partnership with Old Dominion University, local corporations such as Rolls Royce and C and F Bank and three other partner school divisions (Halifax, Mecklenberg and Henrico) to redesign our high school program. This grant will extend over the next two years and allow our teachers, students and stakeholders to create a vision of a 21st century high school, incorporating more interdisciplinary courses and electives, offering more internships and entrepreneurial experiences and allowing students to be more collaborative and creative in their preparation for the world beyond high school. We are very excited to be on the leading edge of innovation and change in secondary programs across our Commonwealth.