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Spring Break
Have a happy and safe Spring Break.  We all hope you are able to relax and have some fun.  We will see you all again Monday, April 28th. 
Planting the seed
Hundreds of our students are now tree planters.  Thanks to a grant, 4-H has donated 630 seedlings to students of Roanoke City.  This week, 1st graders at Fairview Elementary received a grey dogwood seedling.  The students are encouraged to take the seedlings home and plant away.  During the visit, 4-H also educates students about the environment through various science activities. 
Earth Week at Fishburn Park
It is a week that is all about protecting the environment.  Fishburn Park Elementary held various events for Earth Week.  The school kicked it off with a visit to the Kirk YMCA to learn about water safety since this year's theme was water.  Other events included a walkathon, projects to beautify the Fishburn campus, an art project with an environmental focus, and a viewing of the new movie "Bears."
Middle School Science Camp
The Roanoke Valley Governor's School is sponsoring a free 3 week summer science camp for rising sixth and seventh grade students.  The camp will take place from June 16 through July 3.  During the camp, students will take part in various hands-on fun activities and experiments.  Click here for full description of the camp. Click here for an application. 
Fishburn Park Elementary Applications Being Accepted
RCPS is now accepting applications for enrollment into the Fishburn Park Elementary School- Focus for Environmental Science program.  City residents who will be in kindergarten through fifth grade in school year 2014-2015 and are interested in the environment are encouraged to apply.  Transportation is provided.  The application deadline is May 9, 2014. Click here to download an application.

Boston Strong
Christine Lange is running to remember the victims and to honor the survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings.  The kindergarten teacher from Westside Elementary has run several marathons before but the Boston Marathon will be a first.  "I think it is going to be amazing to see everyone come together after a tragic event.  It will be a honor to be there," said Lange.  We wish her all the best.
A step up!
More of our schools have started their own step teams after the success of Westside's.  Step is a collection of rhythms made by using your hands and feet.  When Round Hill Elementary started a step team earlier this year, it had more students than slots. The students have been working hard and will soon hold their first public performance.  Madison Middle and William Fleming High School also have step teams.
Spelling bee winner
Katelyn Diaz of Virginia Heights Elementary has no "grievance."  She won this year's Elementary Spelling Bee.  13 students from across the school system competed at Woodrow Wilson Middle school.  Katelyn won in the 10th round with the word grievance.  We congratulate the winner and all the participants.  Also, thank you to WDBJ-TV's Kimberly McBroom for emceeing the spelling bee.
Science museum hits the road
The Science Museum of Western Virginia is not only a great place to visit, it also provides wonderful educational opportunities.  The museum visits our elementary schools and brings hands-on activities.  For example, Grandin Court Elementary recently learned all about rocks.  Students got to touch the rocks, even got to do experiments.  All of the museum's lessons are SOL related.
2014-2015 School Year Calendar
Many have asked about next year's school calendar.  At the April Board meeting, the School Board adopted two calendars for next year because we are waiting final information from the state.  Our hope is to start the school year before Labor Day.  If that were to happen, the first day of school would be Monday, August 18.  If not, RCPS would start after Labor Day on Tuesday, September 2.  We know this is frustrating, we share your frustration.  This is beyond our control. 
Westside goes to Washington
They were the talk of Washington D.C.  With their uniforms pressed and proudly displayed, people stopped them on the streets to ask about the Westside Debate Team.  While in the nation's capital, the students spent time at Howard University, where they performed and got pointers from Howard's Debate Team.  The students also visited the memorials and museums throughout D.C., and made a brief appearance on News One Now hosted by Roland Martin.
The next best seller
They can now add author to their resume.  Kindergartners at Crystal Spring Elementary have written and illustrated their very own book.  Parents were invited to the school to hear the students read their books out loud.  The exercise creates excitement about reading, gets the creative juices flowing, and helps them with public speaking.  Afterwards, they all gathered for tea and cookies.
French government honors Fleming teacher
Mary Jo Fassie, teacher of advanced French at William Fleming High School, has been named Chevalier de l'Ordre des Palmes Academiques (Knight in the Order of Academic Palms) by the French government.  The order has been around since the 1800's and recognizes those who have advanced French education and have contributed to the prestige of the French language and culture.  Felicitations Madame Fassie.  (Congratulations Miss Fassie).
National Volunteer Week
We couldn't do it without them.  During National Volunteer Week, we said thank you to the countless volunteers who help and donate to our schools.  We have more than a thousand people who volunteer throughout RCPS.  At Highland Park Elementary alone, volunteers put in about 5,000 hours each year.  To say thanks, schools like Highland Park held a breakfast to show their appreciation.
National recognition for Patrick Henry
The Washington Post is out with its latest rankings for America's Most Challenging High Schools.  Patrick Henry High School placed 365th of all the high schools in the nation. The Washington Post ranks schools through an index formula that's a simple ratio: the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school each year, divided by the number of seniors who graduated last year.
James Madison Middle presents "Aladdin"
Congratulations to all the performers.  "Aladdin" was a huge hit.  Get ready to go on a magic carpet ride as James Madison Middle presents the musical "Aladdin."  With just a rub of the magic lamp, Aladdin's journey takes you into an exotic world full of adventure, comedy, and romance. 
Living History
The Jamestown Settlement has landed in Roanoke.  Interpreters from the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation are visiting all 4th grade classes the next two weeks.  They are bringing the museum experience to the classroom, like here at Highland Park Elementary.  Students learn and actually touch artifacts that were common from America's first English Colony.  The hands-on lesson comes at a good time, since students are about to take the Virginia Studies SOL.
CCAP Concert
Thanks to everyone who came out to the Jazz Honor Band Concert at the Jefferson Center Saturday night.  It featured high school students from all over the Roanoke Valley, including Patrick Henry and William Fleming High Schools.  All the money raised will benefit the Community College Access Program (CCAP).  It allows graduating seniors to attend Virginia Western Community College tuition-free.
Autism Awareness
There was plenty of blue at Roanoke City Schools April 2nd.  Many teachers and several students wore blue as part of World Autism Awareness Day.  On this day, people around the world celebrate the unique talents and skills of people with autism.  1 in every 68 kids has autism.  In addition to wearing blue, some schools had special decorations and made cupcakes with blue frosting!
Patrick Henry High School Orchestra in Chicago
Congratulations to Patrick Henry High School's Orchestra for receiving first place at a music festival in Chicago.  The students automatically earned a spot to perform at a concert at the prestigious Orchestra Hall.  Additionally, 11 Patrick Henry students qualified for honors orchestra.  Bravo!
Career Week at Virginia Heights
What do you want to be when you grow up?  It's a question recently answered at Virginia Heights Elementary.  For a week, the school held events centered around careers like Vehicle Day.  It featured various vehicles from the police and fire departments, as well as a sanitation truck.  Other events included Dress Up Day and College Day.  The idea is for students to start thinking about a career now and have a little fun along the way.
State Champs
Congratulations to Patrick Henry High School's Forensics Team for winning the 6A State Championship in Harrionsburg Saturday.  Forensics is a combination of public speaking and performance. The team will have a performance Friday night in the Black Box Theater at PH at 6:30 p.m.  Students will perform dramatic adaptations of plays, poetry, and prose.
Extended School Day
REMINDER:  From now and lasting until Friday, May 23, we will extend the school day by 15 minutes.  We've missed a lot of instruction time because of winter weather and we believe this is what is best for children.  As we have said before, there are no plans to shorten Spring Break.  A letter was sent home with students last week.  Click here to see it. Versión española
Simply the best!
Roanoke City Public Schools has been designated a 2014 Best Communities for Music Education by the NAMM Foundation.  Now in its 15th year, the award evaluates schools and districts based on funding, staffing of highly qualified teachers, commitment to standards, and access to music education.  This year, 376 school districts are being recognized across the country.  Congratulations to everyone who made this award possible.  Bravo!
Dance Espanol
Thanks to everyone who came out to see Dance Espanol at William Fleming High School.  It was a packed house as 200 students performed from Highland Park, Morningside, Lincoln Terrace, and Wasena Elementary Schools.  Bravo to the dancers and Instructor Pedro Szalay of Southwest Virginia Ballet.  More photos and video: www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
Book Bracket
March Madness has taken over Westside Elementary.  But second graders are using books rather than basketballs.  Each day, Ms. Blandy reads two books and then students vote for their favorite.  They use their own brackets to create an Elite 8, a Final Four, and finally a winner.  The fun activity encourages students to read and they're learning about probability.  Sounds like a slam dunk to us!
Teacher of the Year Finalists
We are happy to announce the three finalists for Roanoke's Teacher of the Year.  They are Angela Wimberly, Matt Newton, and Tana Thomas.  Wimberly is a reading specialist at Monterey Elementary.  Matt Newton is a special education teacher at Fishburn Park Elementary.  Tana Thomas is a ELL teacher at Wasena Elementary.  Congratulations to all the candidates.  They will all be honored and a winner selected at a banquet on May 1. 
Potato procedure
Mr. Spud went under the knife...sort of, and perhaps not in the way you may think.  Health and Medical Science students from ROTEC took part in a hands-on exercise called "Potato Man Surgery."  They performed various surgical procedures on a potato like a tracheotomy, limb amputation, and splinting.  All students were dressed in full surgical attire to make the exercise as real as possible.
Recording artists
Move over Katy Perry, you have some stiff competition from the Fairview Rockers.  With the help of recording artist Toni Blackman, students at Fairview Elementary have written their own rap song titled "Feel Good."  This week, they visited the Music Lab at the Jefferson Center for a recording session.  The students will eventually receive a copy of the CD and can now say they are recording artists.
William Fleming presents "Cinderella"
FINAL WEEKEND:  Will there be a fairy tale ending?  Of course!  William Fleming High School presents the beloved musical "Cinderella" this weekend.  You can catch the shows, complete with a magical carriage, this Friday and Saturday (3/28-29) at 7:30 p.m.  Cost is $10 for adults, $5 for students.  Don't worry, you will be out by the time the clock strikes midnight.
Outdoor classroom at Addison
Lucy Addison Middle took the first step this week creating an outdoor classroom.  With the help of Blue Ridge Soil and Water, students in the Ecology Club constructed their own rain barrel.  They will use it to catch rain that will then be used to water plants.  This will save money and it teaches students to be good stewards of the environment.  Down the road, the club plans to plant flower beds and possibly add a bench for the whole school to enjoy.
Science Fair Winner
Congratulations to Warner McGhee, a Patrick Henry High School and Governor's School student.  He was selected as one of the two Grand Award winners at the Western Virginia Regional Science Fair for his project on The Effect of a Magnetic Field on the Solubility of Various Compounds.  He will now compete in the International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, California in May. 
RCPS+ is a go
The Roanoke City School Board has approved RCPS+ for another year.  The summer enrichment program for rising first graders through ninth graders will take place June 16-July 25.  Parents will receive detailed information and an application in the coming weeks.  We will keep you posted as we get closer to the application process.  But start planning now for this wonderful program. Remember, RCPS+ is voluntary.
Preston Park wins national award
Congratulations to Preston Park Elementary.  The National Center for Urban School Transformation (NCUST) has picked 16 schools across the country as winners of its 2014 National Excellence in Urban Education Award.  Preston Park received the Bronze Award.  All the winners be recognized in San Diego in May.  "They prove that our nation's urban schools can be wonderful centers of learning that change children's lives," said Joseph Johnson, Executive Director of NCUST. 
Cupcakes for a Cause
Pedro Szalay, artistic director for the Southwest Virginia Ballet, traded a tutu for an apron Saturday.  He served cupcakes at Bubblecake to raise money for arts programs in Roanoke City Public Schools.  His efforts brought in more than $500.  Thanks to everyone who came out to buy a tasty treat.  Be sure to check out "Dance Espanol" Thursday, March 27 at William Fleming H.S. at 7:00.  Pedro will lead four elementary schools as they dazzle you with exciting Spanish dances. 
Patrick Henry presents "Spamalot"
FINAL WEEKEND:  Be prepared to laugh as Patrick Henry High School presents the musical comedy "Spamalot."  You can catch the show this Friday and Saturday (3/21-22) at 7:00 p.m. at Patrick Henry High School.  "Spamalot" is a musical based on Monty Python and features King Arthur, his Round Table, and the Killer Rabbit. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students.
WF Girls Basketball Team plays for State Championship
Congratulations to the Lady Colonels on an outstanding season.  William Fleming High School's Girls Basketball Team played for the State Championship Thursday night in Richmond.  It was a close game all the way until the end.  The final score was William Fleming 50 Lake Taylor 57.  We would like to thank all the fans who traveled to Richmond to cheer on the players.
Preschool Registration
This is the time of year we accept applications for preschool.  We know you may have plenty of questions.  We've put together a webpage that should answer most of them.  Click here for all the information and an application for preschool.
Breckinridge Middle honors Nelson Mandela
When Nelson Mandela died in December, students at Breckinridge Middle got to work to honor the former South African president through art.  The piece was created by over 30 students, who worked on a square at a time, using a gridded original photograph.  They created their own square separately, then brought them together to create a portrait of Mandela.
Read Across America Day
Cat in the Hat visited several Roanoke City elementary schools as part of Read Across America Day.  It is held every March to celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday.  Schools had guest readers from our school board, city council, local TV stations, and countless charitable organizations.  Not to mention all the teachers and students who dressed up for the occasion.  More photos: www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
Accessiblity for all
There is a new feature at Fishburn Park Elementary's playground that is a first for RCPS, and possibly the Roanoke Valley.  The school has installed a wheelchair swing.  It was paid through a grant from the Greater Raleigh Court Civic League (GRCL).  Nearly a dozen students will use the swing but it is also adult sized, making it possible for everyone to have fun on the playground.
Important Announcement
We have missed many days due to winter weather; consequently, this Friday, March 14 will now be a full school day.  It was originally scheduled to be an early dismissal day.  Many of you have also inquired about Spring Break.  We want you to know there are NO plans to shorten Spring Break, which is scheduled for April 21-25. 
Happy homecoming
John Rivera of Grandin Court Elementary got the surprise of his life.  His mother, deployed in Afghanistan for four months, surprised her son at school.  John was practicing for a performance when his mother just walked into the cafeteria.  Click here to watch the emotional homecoming.  The video on the school system's Facebook page has been seen more than 90,000 times.
PH Forensics Team wins Regional Championship
Not bad for a team that has only been around for about 5 years.  Patrick Henry High School's Forensics Team has won the 6A Regional Championship.  Forensics is a combination of public speaking as well as performance and Patrick Henry's Team has nailed it.  11 students are now moving on to the State Championship at the end of March.  Congratulations and good luck.
Fine tuning with a maestro
We are fortunate to have orchestra programs in many of our schools.  We are even more fortunate that David Stewart Wiley of the Roanoke Symphony helps with these programs.  His latest visit was Stonewall Jackson Middle.  For two hours, he worked with students fine tuning their skills, as they get ready for concert assessments next week.  Thank you to Mr. Wiley for supporting music education.
RCPS educators honored
The Urban Professional League (UPL) has honored two Roanoke City educators.  Sharon Hicks, administrator on assignment at Hurt Park Elementary, received the Educators Award.  Jeff May, debate and step team coach at Westside Elementary, received the Community Service Award. Congratulations to both and thank you for all that you do for our children.
Food is Art
We all know food tastes great, now it looks good too.  A new art exhibit at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital showcases the talents of our students.  It is called "Food is Art."  The rules were simple, the art had to evolve around food.  The rest was up to their imagination!  30 works of art are now on display at the Mountain View Cafe on the 3rd floor.  We ask that you don't eat any of the pieces. 
Preston Park is a finalist for major award
Congratulations to Preston Park Elementary.  It is one of 16 schools in the nation to be recognized as a finalist for the "National Excellence in Urban Education Award" by the National Center for Urban School Transformation (NCUST).  The school has been notified it has been elevated to at least bronze status and remains eligible for silver and gold.  We will keep you posted.
Celebrating Black History Month
February was Black History Month; a time to recognize and remember the history, struggles, and accomplishments of African Americans.  Many of our schools had special programs, performances, and lesson plans.  At Lucy Addison Middle, 7th graders in U.S. History did special presentations about famous African Americans.  There are also posters around the school and books in the library that highlight Black History Month.
Pasta for Pennies
UPDATE:  Staff and students at Hurt Park Elementary raised $1,138 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  For two weeks, they cleaned out their piggy banks and collected more than 13,000 pennies for the Pasta for Pennies campaign.  Mrs. Mattox's 5th grade class raised the most coins and will receive a Pasta Party courtesy of Olive Garden. Congratulations to everyone! 
Books come alive
How do you generate excitement about reading?  You get the characters to jump right off the page and come alive.  Staff and students at Roanoke Academy dressed up as their favorite book character for a day.  Harry Potter, princesses, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were all popular choices. Educators hope this exercise will encourage more students to open a book and let their imaginations run wild.
Science Fair
Move over "Big Bang Theory."  Roanoke City Public Schools held its annual City-Wide Science Fair at William Fleming High School.  More than 150 projects were on display, everything from Atoms to Zinc.  The creativity of the students was awarded with various prizes.  The grand award winners will now compete in the Regional Science Fair at Hollins University on March 15.
Helping the hungry
Students in Roanoke City won't be going hungry thanks to the Rotary Club of Downtown Roanoke and our Congregations in Action (CIA) partners. They teamed up to buy more than $1,000 worth of food for Highland Park Elementary's Pack a Snack Program.  It provides nonperishable, easy to prepare food for elementary school students to have something to eat over the weekend while school is out.  We thank both groups for their generosity and for caring about our students.
Spelling Bee Winner
Gabe Scott of Stonewall Jackson Middle School was all smiles as he won the annual Spelling Bee for Roanoke City Public Schools.  He won in the 9th round with the word "torsion."  Haylee Ho of Lucy Addison Middle School placed second.  Thanks to WDBJ-TV's Robin Reed for pronouncing the words for the event.  Scott now competes in the Regional Spelling Bee at the end of March.
Check presentation for Round Hill
What's it like to hold a check for $1,700,000?  Just ask Christopher Johnson (right) of Round Hill Elementary.  Roanoke City Council presented a check from the sale of the old Huff Lane Elementary to Johnson and Principal Hawks.  The money will be used to renovate and expand Round Hill Elementary.  This summer, the school will receive a brand new cafeteria and six new classrooms.  To see an artist rendering of the new cafeteria, click here.
FREE SAT Prep Courses
Roanoke City Public Schools is offering FREE Princeton Review SAT Preparation Courses for William Fleming and Patrick Henry High School students.  You read right, it is FREE.  These courses won't cost you anything.  Princeton Review has a history of improving student performance on the SAT.  See your school counselor to register.  For further information, click here.
George Washington visits Fishburn Park
History came alive at Fishburn Park Elementary when the first president of the United States stopped by for a visit.  George Washington spoke to students about his life and his presidency.  Washington took questions, posed for pictures, and even sang "Yankee Doodle" with the students.
Thrill ride
It was one of the most frustrating assignments but also the most rewarding.  Students at Woodrow Wilson Middle had to make a roller coaster for a lesson on Newton's laws.  The rules are simple.  The roller coaster has to work, must have one loop and two hills, and a name is required.  A marble is used to test it.  Students came up with all kinds of shapes and sizes, as well as some creative names.
Thank you!
We want to take a moment to say thank you to all our maintenance crews.  They put in long grueling hours removing all the snow from our school sidewalks and parking lots.  We haven't seen this much snow in a long time but these workers are up for the challenge.  It wasn't easy but we want them to know how much we appreciate all their hard work.
Bowling Buddies
There were plenty of smiles at Lee-Hi Lanes in Salem as Special Education students from Patrick Henry High School joined forces with their peers for a fun field trip.  Bowling is popular with Special Education students because they learn life-long skills and it helps them mature.  No one kept score.  It was all about the bowling and the bonding.  Other schools will make similar trips in the coming weeks.
Face the judge
Students from Crystal Spring Elementary visited the Roanoke City Courthouse.  They weren't in trouble.  Judge David Carson arranged a visit to give fifth graders the chance to learn about the judicial system.  Students witnessed actual cases, got to ask judges questions, and toured various courtrooms as well as a holding cell. 
It is not everyday you get a check for $1,000 but that's what happened to a teacher at Grandin Court Elementary and Patrick Henry High School. The Greater Raleigh Court Civic League (GRCCL) handed out its annual teacher grants.  Angie McFarland (pictured), a reading specialist at Grandin Court, will use the money to buy reading books.  Jack Esworthy, Astronomy teacher at Patrick Henry, will buy telescopes.  Thank you to GRCCL for supporting our teachers.
Follow us on Twitter
There is just one official Twitter page for Roanoke City Public Schools.  We post useful information on Twitter including school closings and delays.   Follow us on Twitter: @RoanokeSchools
Student Scientists in Action
Thanks to everyone who came out for the Roanoke Valley Governor's School for Science and Technology's 28th annual Student Project Forum.  There were various scientific projects on biochemistry, computer and mathematics, medicine and health, physics, and engineering.  Nearly $6,000 was raised through a silent auction.  That money will be used to buy equipment for the Governor's School.
Wait is over
Better late than never!  Garden City Elementary learned that lesson with the renovations to its gym.  Installing the new rubber floor was delayed several months because of humidity.   During that time, students were still able to use the gym, but now that the project is complete, it has created a new level of excitement.  Principal Smith says it is like having a brand new facility. 
Team USA
There is plenty of red, white, and blue at Fishburn Park Elementary.  Students and staff are wearing patriotic colors to show their pride for Team USA during "The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics."  They've also created banners to hang in the school and many teachers are incorporating the Olympics into their lesson plans.  Fishburn Park receives the gold for team spirit!
Important Weather Information
Let the digging out begin!  Roanoke City residents can call 211 for questions about snow removal or general information about weather-related conditions.  Do not call 911 unless it is an emergency.  To report power outages, call AEP at 800-966-4237.  The American Red Cross has put together some helpful tips. To see that and other information from the City of Roanoke, click here.
Rewarded for Reading
A good book has its rewards, especially at Monterey Elementary.  The school's Accelerated Reading Program encourages students to checkout books from the library.  The more books they read, the more points they get.  At the end of the month, the top five point earners in each grade get a celebration.  This month the students took part in various fun activities in the gym.
Showing the love
Roanoke students are jumping for joy!  February is National Heart Month and several of our schools are having Jump Rope For Heart fundraisers for the American Heart Association.  Some elementary school students are jump roping during gym classes and learning how to maintain a good heart.  One of the schools participating, Crystal Spring Elementary, raises about $1,000 every year.
100 Days....
When they started kindergarten, they were shy and nervous.  Today, they are smarter and not so shy anymore.  Roanoke Academy (RAMS) held an all day celebration to mark the 100th day of kindergarten.  Students wore special hats, made art projects, and found ways to count to 100.  A few of the students even dressed up like someone who is 100 years old!
National School Counseling Week
They are one of many unsung heroes of Roanoke City Public Schools.  School Counselors work with all students to remove barriers to learning by addressing academic concerns, personal/social skills, and career awareness for post-secondary options.  Last week was National School Counseling Week and we would like to say thanks to all of our counselors for all that you do.
How are you going to pay for college?
THIS WEEKEND:  When applying for college, you need to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form.  But it can be confusing and time consuming.  Let us help!  Super FAFSA Week will take place Saturday, February 8 from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M. at Virginia Western Community College inside Webber Hall on the 3rd floor.  This seminar is free and open to anyone who plans to attend college in 2014-2015.  For more information, click here.
Cardinal rule at Virginia Heights
A compliment can go a long way and there is no better example than at Virginia Heights Elementary.  The school has started a new program that rewards good behavior.  If students are following the expectations of the school as a class, they will get a compliment.  Then a cardinal (school mascot) sticker is placed on a branch of a tree poster located outside the classroom door.  Once every class gets 20 cardinals, the school will throw a celebration as a reward.
Young Artists
It is never too early to learn about art.  With that in mind, kindergartners from Monterey Elementary visited the Taubman Museum of Art.  It was a chance for students to see some of the masterpieces and make some of their own.  They also showed their creative side, from dressing up to staging their own puppet show.  Teachers say this was also a good opportunity to teach them the proper way to act in a museum.
PH Orchestra gears up for national stage
First it was Carnegie Hall, now it is Orchestra Hall in Chicago.  Patrick Henry High School's Orchestra has been selected for the prestigious WorldStrides Heritage Performance Music Festival in Chicago.  75 students will make the trip at the end of March.  The PH musicians will compete with high schools from all over the country.  On the last day, Patrick Henry's Orchestra will perform on the stage at Orchestra Hall. 
CCAP Success Story from Patrick Henry
Yadav Sapkota, a 2013 Patrick Henry High School Graduate, is living the American dream, thanks to the Community College Access Program (CCAP).  The Nepal native is studying science at Virginia Western Community College.  "CCAP has made me really confident with school work and college life, and achieving my goals," Sapokta.  He hopes to eventually become a physician assistant.  Could you be the next CCAP success story?  To learn more and for an application, click here.
Tuberculosis Information
UPDATE 1/23:  The Health Department has retested more than 100 who were originally tested for tuberculosis at William Fleming High School.  There are no additional active cases of tuberculosis at Fleming and the Health Department advises us there is no reason to expand the testing.  To see our tuberculosis web page, click here.
Reading and robots
Could you program a robot to play soccer?  Some Hurt Park Elementary students can.  The school's 21st Century Program is in the second year of "Reading and Robots."  After school, 5th graders spend part of the time sharpening their reading skills.  They then work to build and program their own robot.  The whole idea is to get kids interested in science early so they can take more advance science courses when they are older. 
Students today, teachers tomorrow?
RCPS is launching the Teachers for Tomorrow program.  The idea is for our students to become teachers here in Roanoke one day.  Pending state approval, the program will begin next school year and be offered to high school students at Patrick Henry and William Fleming in grades 10, 11, & 12.  Students will take part in internships at the pre-school, elementary, and middle school levels.  We will post more information about the program in the coming months.
Buddy Clubs expand
We could all use a buddy.  With that in mind, Roanoke City Public Schools is expanding "The Buddy Club" program.  The idea is for special education students in middle and high school to interact with their peers.  The hope is to raise awareness and prevent bullying.  The program started at Patrick Henry High School three years ago. Buddy Clubs are now at Fleming, Madison, Addison, and Jackson.
CCAP is a finalist for national award
Virginia Western Community College has been named a finalist for the Community College Futures Assembly's 2014 Bellwether Awards for its Community College Access Program.  CCAP allows graduating seniors in several localities, including Roanoke, to attend Western tuition-free for two years.  400 applications were received, just 30 finalists were chosen.  The winner will be announced January 28 in Orlando, Florida.
Jackson Middle presents to NASA
Team Cupcake was impressive.  Hannah Akers, Elizabeth Phipps, and Makayla Whittaker of Stonewall Jackson Middle School presented to a NASA panel.  The students had to give a presentation by webcam and answer questions from the panelists.  Just four schools in the country were selected for the NASA presentation.  Congratulations to the team
Fishburn Park teacher selected for state team
Can we teach mathematics in a whole new way?  Matt Newton, of Fishburn Park Elementary, is part of a team to find out.  He is one of 15 teachers selected statewide for the Elementary Mathematics Innovative Learning Team.  These teachers will work with Virginia's Dept. of Education to develop an iTunes course that teaches mathematics in an innovative and different way.
Another CCAP success story
Logan Manley has an older sister in college.  "Two in college isn't cheap," said Manley.  That's why she and her parents are thankful for the Community College Access Program (CCAP).  The Patrick Henry H.S. Graduate is attending Virginia Western Community College tuition-free.  "I absolutely love it here.  Everyone is welcoming.  There is always someone there to help you," said Manley.  To learn more about CCAP and for an application, click here.
Robots invade William Fleming High School
Wall-e would be impressed.  Saturday, William Fleming High School hosted a VEX Robotics Competition.  More than 20 teams from Virginia and North Carolina competed in the all day event, including a team from ROTEC/William Fleming.  Students had to build their own robot and then battle it out against each other in various games/obstacles. 
Gas grants
Crystal Spring Elementary and Westside Elementary have received Exxon Mobil Education Alliance Grants.  The schools can use the money to help with math, science, or technology.  Crystal Spring has already decided to buy more SMART-Boards.  The grant money totals $1,500. Thanks to Exxon Mobil for the generous donation.
Magazine Mentions
We already know our students, teachers, and administrators are great.  It's even better when the rest of Roanoke learns it.  This month's Roanoker Magazine has a feature story about Woodrow Wilson Middle School's Bike Club.  Roanoke Business Magazine has an interview with Superintendent Rita Bishop.  In the article, she touts many of the recent successes of the school system.  Check out both!
Principals Appreciation Week
Our principals put in long hours, are extremely dedicated, and work to ensure student and teacher success.  For that, we say thanks.  Virginia declared January 5-11 Principals Appreciation Week.  "The role of the principal as the instructional leader of the school is critically important to ensure students are provided the opportunity to learn," said Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia Wright.
Weather Closings/Delays
When there is winter weather weather in the forecast, how will you find out if schools are delayed or closed?  Listen to local television and radio stations.  Also check:
Twitter: @RoanokeSchools
Inclement Weather Hotline at 853-2006.
CCAP success story
Nelson Amaya moved to America from Honduras 4 years ago.  He graduated from William Fleming last year and today is in the Community College Access Program (CCAP) at Virginia Western Community College.  "This program is saving me and my family thousands of dollars.  Without this program, college wouldn't be a reality," said Amaya.  Could you be the next CCAP success story?  To learn more about CCAP and for an application, click here.
William Fleming receives state grant
The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth has awarded a grant to William Fleming High School to support the Y Street teen volunteer group.  Y Street promotes healthy, tobacco-free lifestyle for teenagers in Virginia.  Fleming's DECA chapter will use the money to fund field trips, various club activities, and community outreach projects. 
Can we be friends?
Roanoke City Public Schools has a strong presence on social media.  We invite you to join us on Facebook and Twitter.  Follow us on Twitter @RoanokeSchools and www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools for Facebook.
VH1 Announcement
It is certainly music to our ears.  VH1 Save the Music Foundation has agreed to buy instruments to jump start music programs in all of our elementary schools next year. Currently, there are VH1 Save the Music Foundation programs in 12 of our schools.  This announcement will bring that number to 17.  To date, VH1 Save the Music Foundation has purchased $350,000 worth of instruments for Roanoke students.
District Christmas cards
We don't have to look very far to find our Christmas cards.  Every year, the Superintendent holds a student contest to design the district's Christmas cards.  This year, Dr. Bishop chose art work by three Roanoke Academy students. They are Montay Logan, Nariyah Meade, and John Smith, all second graders.  This year's card features three penguins skating.
New chapter at Virginia Heights
There are not too many things in life that are free, but a library card is one of them.  With that in mind, Roanoke Public Libraries and Virginia Heights Elementary have joined forces to encourage more students to get a library card.  A librarian has visited the school several times to show students the benefits of the library.  The new program is working.  So far, nearly 70 students have signed up for a library card.
Roanoke's Christmas parade
Thousands turned out for Roanoke's annual Christmas parade and RCPS was well represented.  Participants included William Fleming High School's Marching Band, Step Team, and ROTC.  Patrick Henry High School had its marching band and JROTC.  The band from Lucy Addison Middle School (pictured) also wowed the crowd.  Great job everyone.
Recycled Christmas Tree
It may not look green, but the Christmas tree at Fishburn Park Elementary is still green, just in a different way.  Staff and students have made a tree completely out of recycled materials.  The stem is a PVC pipe, the branches are soda cans.  The decorations consist of straws, puzzles pieces, and soda tabs for garland.  It shows Fishburn Park is living up to its mission, protecting the environment.
Making spirits bright
A hospital is the last place you would want to be during the holidays but some don't have a choice.  That's why the school system's Student Leadership Team brought Christmas cheer to sick kids at Carilion Clinic Children's Hospital.  Students sang carols, read poetry, and handed out treats to the patients.  Despite their obvious pain, the performance brought big smiles to many of the children.
Holiday/Winter Concerts Schedule

This is the final week for Holiday/Winter Concerts.  We hope you've enjoyed the ones so far.  Our students are doing a great job.  If you are looking for a list of performances for this week, click here  Enjoy and Happy Holidays.

Safety Patrol
Safety is a big priority at Hurt Park Elementary and the school uses students to fulfill that mission.  Hurt Park has a safety patrol.  Members have various responsibilities, including greeting other students and encouraging them to get to class quickly.  They also take part in a number of community service projects and assist at parent nights.
Colonial Day at Highland Park
It was like stepping back in time Friday at Highland Park Elementary.  The school held the 2nd annual Colonial Day celebration.  Students in 4th grade dressed up in periods costumes, wrote Calligraphy, and played games that were popular during the Colonial period.  Not to mention they had great food like peach cobbler.  Students certainly had a lot of fun but also learned plenty about Virginia Studies.
Turkey Bowl
Crystal Spring Elementary proved it's better late than never.  Bad weather forced the school to move its annual Turkey Bowl twice.  Teachers, students, and parents cheered as 4th and 5th grade held their annual tag football game Thursday.  The fundraiser for the Rescue Mission took in more than $2,850 this year.  Since it started 7 years ago, the Turkey Bowl has raised $20,000 for the homeless shelter.
Multiculturalism at Monterey
Diversity is our strength here at Roanoke City Public Schools.  A good example is at Monterey Elementary where 16 countries are represented.  Every year, the school puts on a Multicultural Day.  The goal is to teach students about different cultures and create a better understanding of our community.  They visited different stages to play music, make art projects, and eat plenty of ethnic foods. 
Patrick Henry H.S. student heading to Liberty Bowl
Ammie Cook, a senior at Patrick Henry High School, will be spending New Years Eve in Memphis, TN.  Ammie has been chosen by America's Homecoming Queen organization to represent Virginia at the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.  Ammie will visit sick children at St. Jude's Hospital, march in a parade, and participate in the half-time show at the football game. 
Read all about it
Students at 8 of our schools are receiving free books thanks to the "Reading is Fundamental" grant.  Reading is Fundamental is a children's literacy group.  Its mission is to make sure all children have access to books and to discover the joys and value of reading.  Students at each site choose their own book, which they get to keep.  This year, Macy's funded the grant.
Her name was Lola...
THIS WEEKEND:  Many high schools stage a musical in the spring but Patrick Henry High School is doing something a little different.  The Chamber Choir and Jazz Band are performing a winter musical, Barry Manilow's "Copacabana."  You can catch the show Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. in PH's Auditorium.  Cost is $10, $5 for adults. 
NASA visits Jackson Middle
Are they up for the challenge?  NASA thinks so.  A representative from NASA visited Stonewall Jackson Middle School's 21st Century Program.  Students are competing in the STEM Challenge sponsored by NASA and the U.S. Dept. of Education.  One challenge asks students to come up with a way to parachute a spacecraft on to Mars.  The NASA representative watched as students tested their parachutes.
We are thankful for....
to our students and staff who truly care about people.  There may be no better example than the food drive for the Salvation Army. 15 of our schools collected non-perishable food items.  Stonewall Jackson Middle took in more than 1,900 alone!  All donations will help needy families throughout the holiday season.  Thanks to everyone who worked and donated to this worthy cause.
Interactive field trip to Transportation Museum
There is an app for that!  RCPS joined forces with the Virginia Museum of Transportation for an interactive learning experience for 7th grade U.S. History students.  At the museum, they borrowed Samsung Galaxy tablets with a custom made app.  Students learned about transportation and Roanoke history.  They made videos, and even took part in a scavenger hunt.  The program touched on 15 different SOL's.
The scoop on Crystal Spring
Crystal Spring Elementary teachers are trading their pens and pencils for an ice cream scooper.  They're taking part in a celebrity scoop night at Maggie Moo's in Roanoke.  For four Thursday nights, teachers serve ice cream to customers.  In return, the store donates a percentage of the sales to Crystal Spring.  These teachers will be scooping one more time; Thursday, December 5 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Ending bullying
There are fewer strangers at Patrick Henry High School.  SGA, Key Club, and the school newspaper teamed up to have "Mix It Up Day."  At lunch, students were encouraged to sit with someone they've never met before, like the two in this picture.  The exercise created good conversation, new friendships, and a better understanding of one another.  School leaders hope this will result in less bullying.
Grandparents Day
Students at Fishburn Park Elementary invited their grandparents and special friends to school.  They toured classrooms, browsed a book fair, and ate cookies together.  Many of the students presented their art work to the guests.  One set of grandparents traveled all the way from Texas for this special day.
Feeding the needy
You could say our students stepped up to the "plate."  For the past 15 years, ROTEC and Patrick Henry High School students have collected food for the needy at Thanksgiving.  This year, the total amount was 2,300 pounds of non-perishable items.  Health and Medical Sciences students boxed it all up at the Elks Lodge.  It was delivered to 100 area families just in time for Thanksgiving.
Thank you teachers and staff!
We want to say thank you to everyone who donated to the United Way Campaign.  60% of our staff donated to the United Way this year.  Seven schools had a 100% participation rate!  They are Noel C. Taylor, Monterey, Roanoke Academy, Madison Middle, Westside, Round Hill, and Forest Park.  Monterey received a visit from Miss Virginia.  The six other schools got cookies and milk as a thank you.  Thanks to the Culinary Arts students from ROTEC for baking the delicious treats.
Jackson Middle blasts off with NASA
How do you parachute on to Mars?  The answer may be at Stonewall Jackson Middle School's 21st Century Program.  The school is one of just 8 in Virginia selected to participate in the STEM Challenge sponsored by NASA and the U.S. Dept. of Education.  The goal is to look for future scientists and engineers.  In addition to coming up with a way to parachute a spacecraft on to Mars, students also need to develop a game for play aboard the International Space Station. 
Let The Music Play....
The "Fairview Rockers" are now rappers.  Recording artist Toni Blackman from New York City visited Roanoke to work with students at Fairview Elementary.  Thanks to the Music Lab at Jefferson Center, students are writing their own music with the help of Ms. Blackman.  She believes rap is a tool to make the world a better place.  Later this year, students will record their rap song onto a CD. 
Balanced Scorecard 2012-2013
Call it a report card of sorts for Roanoke City Public Schools.  What is our graduation rate?  How many students took AP Tests? What is our volunteer hours?  How many tons are we composting?  What is 9th grade retention like?  They are all answered in the 2012-2013 Balanced Scorecard.  Click here to see it.
Ghosts haunt William Fleming's stage
Thanks to everyone who came out to see "Gramercy Ghost" at William Fleming High School.   It is about a woman who inherits a ghost in her landlady's will.  She is the only one who can see the ghost, creating total mayhem. 
Take Your Legislator to School
November is "Take Your Legislator to School Month."  The goal is to promote a closer relationship between public education and the Virginia State Legislature.  It is also a chance for students to interact with elected officials and learn about the important roles and responsibilities of Virginia General Assembly members.  So far, Delegate Greg Habeeb, Delegate Onzlee Ware, Senator Ralph Smith, and Senator John Edwards have visited Roanoke schools this month.
Friday Football
Congratulations to the Patrick Henry High School Football Team on a great season. The Patriots fell to Forest Park High School 21 to 6.  This was the first football playoff game Patrick Henry has hosted since 1985 and it was certainly a wet one.  Thank you to all the PH fans who came out in the pouring rain to support the team.

Fire Prevention Week Art Contest Winners
Roanoke Fire-EMS held its annual Fire Prevention Week Art Contest.  This year's theme was preventing kitchen fires.  17 Roanoke City students were honored at a party at Fire Station #5.  The winners received a gift bag and dinner complete with pizza and cake!  Congratulations to all the winners.  To see more pictures, go to www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
Poetry Recital
Highland Park Elementary is full of poets!  The school held a poetry recital for 3rd graders in the gifted program.  Students had to pick a favorite poem and memorize it.  The goal is for students to work on their oral presenting skills and become more comfortable with language.  The recitals have become so popular the school now holds several a year.
Man's best reader?
They're not only man's best friend, but dogs are also good listeners.  Twice a month, Duncan from Therapets visits Lincoln Terrace Elementary.  He's a reading buddy to about 10 students.  It is a chance for them to practice their reading skills and gain self-esteem as well as confidence.  A similar program at Addison Middle has shown therapy dogs help students make major strides with their reading.
American Classic comes to Patrick Henry Stage
Thanks to everyone who came out to see Patrick Henry High School Theatre Department's production of "Twelve Angry Jurors," an adaptation of the classic 1957 teleplay "Twelve Angry Men." 
Veterans Day
It is the day we set aside to honor the brave men and women who defend our country.  Veterans Day celebrations included a flag raising and retirement ceremony by William Fleming High School's ROTC. Many of our schools also held Veterans Day programs throughout the week.  It is our students way of saying thank you to all of our Veterans.
Customer Satisfaction Survey
FINAL WEEK:  Roanoke City Public Schools is conducting a Parent/Guardian Customer Satisfaction Survey.  Your feedback will help us serve you and your child/children better. The survey is in English and Spanish.  If you would like a paper version of the survey, please call 853-2816.
English Version
Spanish Version

Honoring our veterans
Sometimes a simple thank you can go a long way.  With that in mind, several Roanoke Schools participated in a project to honor our veterans.  On Veterans Day, Golden Corral in Roanoke offered free meals to the men and women who served our country.  Each vet also received a thank you note or special artwork from one of our studentsPictured is a Fairview Elementary student.
Science Museum hits the road
What does a guitar have to do with science?  Plenty.  The Science Museum of Western Virginia is visiting elementary schools teaching students about forces.  They include hands on lessons about moving air, gravity, and magnetism, all of which are on the Standards of Learning (SOL).  On Monday, museum volunteers visited first graders at Fairview Elementary. 
Charity Game
Everyone came out a winner at the video game marathon.  Students from the Technology Student Association at William Fleming and Patrick Henry High Schools played video games for 24 hours.  It was all for a good cause, the Children's Miracle Network at Carilion Clinic.  The students raised more than $1,700 and all of that money stays in the Roanoke Valley.
Miss Virginia visits Monterey
Desiree Williams was crowned Miss Virginia in June.  Last week, she made her first school visit and it was Monterey Elementary.  Miss Virginia spoke to more than 500 students about eating and staying healthy.  Monterey won the appearance because 100% of its staff participated in the United Way Campaign.  A big thank you to Miss Virginia for donating her time.
Breckinridge Stands Up to Cancer
Got a penny or two?  James Breckinridge Middle could use it.  The Girls Volleyball Team is raising money for breast cancer research.  The players are having a friendly competition to see which class can bring in the most pennies.  All donations will go to the local chapter of Susan G. Komen.  The players are also sporting special pink jerseys to wear during the games.
Curt Baker appointed Superintendent in PA
Deputy Superintendent Curt Baker has been appointed to be the next superintendent of Moon Area Schools in Pennsylvania.  He will accept that position, pending state approval and finalization of a contract.  Baker joined RCPS in 2007 and oversaw finance and operations.  "This is really a bitter sweet situation.  I love it here, it's going to be hard to leave," said Baker. 
Red Ribbon Week Winners
The Roanoke Area Youth Substance Abuse Coalition (RAYSAC) has announced the winners for this year's Red Ribbon Week Contest.  Garden City Elementary won 1st place.  The school will receive $250.  Hurt Park Elementary and Woodrow Wilson Middle won "Spirit of Red Ribbon Week." Both will receive $100.  Congratulations to the winners.
Happy Halloween
There were plenty of ghosts, goblins, witches, cats, and superheros at our schools on Halloween.  We're not just talking about the kids, many of the teachers also got into the fun. There were some really cute costumes, and scary ones too.  We've posted a bunch of pictures at www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
Snow plow winner
Fallon Park Elementary has more of a reason to look forward to a snow day.  The school has won the People's Choice Award for the snow plow project.  12 of our schools decorated snow plows for the city's Public Works Department.  We then had an online contest to determine a fan favorite.  More than 3,000 voted and Fallon Park was declared the winner.  The Fallon students who worked on the project will receive a pizza party sponsored by the Roanoke Arts Commission.
Fleming student saves teacher's life
His nickname around school is hero.  Kenny Reynolds, a freshmen at William Fleming H.S., recently saved his teacher's life.  Cathy Dickenson was choking on her lunch when Kenny sprung into action, performing the heimlich maneuver.  Amazingly, he just learned how to do it in Health class the week before.  "He was really mature.  I can't stress that enough.  He really saved my life," said Dickenson.
Did You know?
We currently have the largest class ever enrolled in the Community College Access Program (CCAP) at 108!  CCAP allows graduates of RCPS, who meet certain criteria, to attend Virginia Western Community College tuition free.  Since the program started in 2009, more than 200 of our students have attended VWCC.
RCPS Walking Challenge
It is week 5 of the annual Walking Challenge.  It is a 8 week program that encourages staff to walk 10,000 steps-a-day.  Jennifer Oliver and Rhonda Swanson of Garden City Elementary are big believers in the challenge.  Oliver (left) lost 50 pounds, partly because she walks more.  "I'm more energetic, I'm in shape.  I feel better about myself," said Oliver.
Red Ribbon Week
We saw some great examples demonstrating the importance of Red Ribbon Week.  It is an annual nationwide campaign to teach students to stay away from drugs.  Activities took place all week at our schools.  Students at Woodrow Wilson Middle had to fold a piece of paper wearing boxing gloves.  It was designed to show them what it's like being impaired using drugs or alcohol.
United Way Campaign
Thank you to all who donated to the annual United Way Campaign.  We couldn't do it without you!  Congratulations to Monterey Elementary.  It was the first elementary or middle school to get 100% of the staff to donate.  Monterey will now receive a visit from Miss Virginia.  Five additional schools had 100% staff participation.  They will all receive a prize as well.
VOTING IS NOW CLOSED.  We will announce the winner Monday.  More than 3,000 voted for their favorite snow plow.  12 of our schools decorated snow plows for Roanoke's Public Works Department.  We had an online contest to see which snow plow was the favorite with the public.
Mr. Smith goes to Preston Park
The voters have spoken!  Preston Park Elementary is one of the few to have a Student Council Association (SCA) for elementary students.  On Thursday, the school gathered to install new student officers.  State Senator Ralph Smith, who went to Preston Park as a child, was the keynote speaker.  SCA members work on various community service projects during the school year.
Garden Groundbreaking
The seed has been planted at James Madison Middle.  Virginia Western Community College, RCPS, Roanoke City, and state leaders gathered to break ground on an outdoor learning center and garden at Madison.  The Food for Thought Program will teach middle school students to make healthy choices.  The learning center will include an outdoor classroom, raised garden beds and fruit trees, a greenhouse, water conservation, and an amphitheater.
Real Men Read
Reading isn't just for girls.  To prove it, Lincoln Terrace Elementary held the first ever Real Men Read program.  Various men from all walks of life came and read to all students.  Readers included the mayor, council members, business leaders, firefighters, and local TV personalities.  The goal is to get boys excited about reading.  It was so successful, Lincoln Terrace plans to make it a monthly program.
Round Hill's new gym
Call it a slam dunk!  Round Hill Elementary's new membrane gymnasium is already a big hit with staff and students.  In the past, the school had gym classes in the cafeteria or a modular unit.  The school also has a new playground and additional parking.  This is the 1st phase of major renovations planned for Round Hill.  Next summer, the school will get a new cafeteria, kitchen, and classrooms.
The Monterey Players
You could say the SOL's took center stage at Monterey Elementary.  Roanoke Children's Theatre conducted acting workshops in several classes.  It was a chance for students to put together a play about the Jamestown Settlement; something they need to know for Virginia Studies.  Students practiced their lines and some made their own costumes before they raised the curtain on their production.
All in the family
When you are at Lincoln Terrace Elementary, you are part of the family.  Once a month, the school holds a Family Night to get parents involved in their child's school.  October's Family Night focused on literacy.  Students got free books, made bookmarks, and had the chance to sign up for a library card.  In the school's library, big kids read to the little ones.
Graduation rate at all time high
Roanoke's On-Time Graduation Rate is now more than 80%.  Pretty remarkable when you consider five years ago, the city's graduation rate stood at 59%.  "This is an outstanding achievement that everyone in Roanoke should be proud of.  A lot of people, particularly Dr. Julie Drewry and her team, have worked hard to help our students stay on track and graduate on time.  But there is still work to be done and we will not rest until that number is even higher," said Superintendent Rita Bishop.
Walking Challenge
The Annual RCPS Walking Challenge has gotten off on the right foot.  The 8-week campaign encourages employees to walk 10,000 Steps-a-Day.  Research shows that walking that much per day can help you lose weight and improve your heart health.  More than 500 employees are participating this year, and after the 2nd week, Garden City Elementary is in the lead.  It is still early in the competition so get walking.
RCPS Snow Patrol
They're finished!  Thanks to the Roanoke Arts Commission, 12 of our schools have decorated snow plows for the Public Works Department.  These works of art demonstrate a winter scene.  The goal of the project is to engage all of Roanoke in the arts.  Forest Park Academy's (pictured) features the school's mascot.
Hurt Park's new playground
The days of sandboxes and a few metal slides are over.  Just take a look at the new playground at Hurt Park Elementary.  It features more slides, climbing bars, and even a few drums.  The playground is designed to be fun, educational, and encourage fitness.  In the last five years, the school system has replaced more than a dozen playgrounds at its schools. 
Fleming fight song winners
The Colonels didn't have to look far to find a new fight song.  William Fleming High School held a contest to see who could come up with a new school anthem.  The judges have selected pieces from Broddie Thompson and Kenny Basham; both members of Fleming's Marching Band.  Their selections have been combined into one arrangement.  The new fight song debuted at Friday night's football game.
Future Firefighters?
As elementary students, they visited the fire station to learn about fire dangers.  As high school students, they are now returning for career opportunities.  Roanoke Fire-EMS and Jefferson College of Health Sciences hosted 32 students from William Fleming and Patrick Henry High Schools.  It was a chance for them to see first-hand what it takes to be a firefighter and EMT. 
Crystal Prowls
Don't mess with a tiger.  Crystal Spring Elementary held its first ever Prowlathon, a PTA walkathon to raise money for the school.  Students got pledges and then walked around the school's field.  The fundraiser brought in $20,000.  Not bad since the goal was $17,000.  Crystal Spring will use that money to buy technology.  The classroom that raised the most money will now get to name the Tiger Mascot.
Did You Know?
Middle school athletics continues to grow by leaps and bounds.  Two years ago, Roanoke City Public Schools put a real emphasis on sports at the middle school level.  As a result, more than 1,300 students are now participating in middle school athletics.  RCPS offers 16 different middle school sports, everything from cross country to wrestling.  Now you know!
More musicians
We can't sing its praises enough.  This school year, VH1 Save the Music Foundation has donated instruments to Preston Park Elementary and Fallon Park Elementary.  VH1 is now in 12 of our schools and has donated $350,000 worth of instruments to Roanoke in the last 6 years.  "Our music programs have grown by leaps and bounds thanks to VH1," said Fine Arts Coordinator Cari Gates.
Fall Festival
You know fall has arrived when Westside Elementary holds its Fall Festival.  Hundreds of parents, students, and teachers turned out for the annual event last week.  Westside's Debate and Step Teams first performed for everyone in the cafeteria.  Students and parents were then treated to fun games, face painting, and snacks.  More pictures at www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
Bike Club
It is one of the most popular clubs at Woodrow Wilson Middle School.  Every Monday, students stay after school for bike club.  They fix-up donated bikes, which they get to keep.  Officer Goad of the Roanoke City Police Dept. teaches them the rules of the road and the importance of community service.  During the school year, students pick-up trash, rake leaves, and visit a nearby nursing home.
Football Tweets
Can't see your favorite football team but still want the score?  We've got you covered.  All you have to do is follow us on Twitter.  We are now live tweeting during Patrick Henry and William Fleming High School football games.  Follow us on Twitter @RoanokeSchools 
Lock-down drills
A new Virginia law requires all schools to have at least two lock-down drills a year.  They must conduct one in September and one in January.  Each of our schools are notifying parents about the drills either through a robo call or a letter home.  Roanoke Academy (RAMS) held its drill last week.  Teachers turned off the lights and the students hid in a part of the building.
Westside at Henry Street Festival
They were the hit of the Henry Street Festival.  On Saturday, Westside Elementary's Step Team wowed the crowd at the annual event sponsored by the Harrison Museum.  The festival was moved indoors because of the rain but the Step Team performed beautifully. 
Gold Star Teachers
Kim Elliott and Megan Faulring sure are a good bet.  These Patrick Henry High School teachers are the 2012-2013 recipients of the Gold Star Teacher Award.  Together, they had an overall pass rate of 91% for all students tested on the W!SE Financial Literacy Certification Examination in Economics and Personal Finance.  W!SE helps to develop financial literacy and readiness for college and the workplace.
Colonels Contest
The William Fleming High School fight song you've been accustomed to hearing at football games won't be played now or in the future.  The fight song is the intellectual property of a former employee who wishes not to have it played at Fleming again.  We're having a contest to see who can come up with a new fight song.  The winner will receive $300.  For full contest details and rules, click HERE.
Oliver Hill's legacy lives on
Roanoke's historic Oliver Hill House is up and running again.  Oliver Hill was a famous civil rights attorney who helped to end the doctrine of "separate but equal."  The school system has teamed up with Big Brothers Big Sisters to hold an out of school mentoring program at the Oliver Hill House.  Currently, 33 students are enrolled from four elementary schools.  They receive help with their homework, play games, and get plenty of one on one attention from their mentor.
FREE SAT Prep Class
Getting ready to take the SAT and need help?  RCPS is offering a Princeton Review SAT Preparation Course for students of Patrick Henry and William Fleming High Schools.  The course will be held on Saturdays beginning October 5 and ending November 24.  The course is FREE.  See your school counselor to sign up and to get more details.
Healthy Eating
September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.  RCPS is combating the problem with healthier food choices.  For example, at breakfast, students are served egg beaters, turkey bacon, wheat biscuits, and fruit.  Milk is either skim or 1%.  A healthy breakfast containing protein and fiber can help students feel full and focused for their school day.
PH Band performs at NASCAR event
The Patrick Henry High School Marching Band was firing on all cylinders last week.  The Patriots were invited to perform at a NASCAR pep rally in downtown Roanoke featuring NASCAR Driver Kasey Kahne.  The band performed several numbers, including the National Anthem.  The Martinsville Speedway plans to give the band money for its trip to Hawaii.
RCPS Weather Report
Students and staff at many of our schools don't have to go far to get the latest weather forecast. RCPS and Virginia Tech's Department of Meteorology have teamed up to install weather stations at 13 schools.  Students can get real time data on things like temperature, wind speed, and rain fall.  This is all part of a Virginia Tech project to study urban weather patterns.  During some of the installations, VT brought its mobile weather car for students to tour. 
Patriot Day
All across America, people remembered and honored the victims of the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks.  It was Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance.  At Fishburn Park Elementary, teachers and staff are proudly wearing red, white, and blue to show their patriotism.
Concert for a Cause
They were a huge hit.  Sunday night, the Panamania Steel Drum Band performed a free concert at Virginia Heights Baptist Church.  Proceeds from concessions will benefit the Pack-a-Snack Program at four of our elementary schools.  The program is run by Congregations In Action (CIA).  The principals of each school served the food, helping to raise $613. Thanks to the band and everyone who donated.
RCPS launches new security measures
Student safety is always our first priority.  With that in mind, Roanoke City Public Schools launched a new district-wide Visitor Management System.  This system will improve security because it allows us to identify who exactly is in our buildings and why.  After showing a picture ID, visitors will receive a badge that changes color once it expires. 
2013-2014 Parent Handbook
The 2013-2014 Parent Handbook has been sent home with students.  This year, we are using high resolution pictures which gives the handbook a more professional look.  We've also added the main phone numbers to each of our schools to make it easier to call your child's school.  We're now working to translate the handbook into Spanish for families of English Language Learners (ELL).
Open House for Virginia Heights
Thank you to everyone who came out to the Open House at Virginia Heights Elementary.  It was a chance for parents, students, teachers, and the community to see the recent renovations to the school.  Virginia Heights has 5 new classrooms, a new library, a new multi-purpose room, and the old modular classroom out back is gone.  More pics of the Open House, www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
Colors at Crystal
Brown was the "it" color at Crystal Spring Elementary last week.  No, it's not because fall is coming.  It is to help out the kindergarten students.  Students and staff wore a different color each day to help the kindergartners learn the colors.  It has become so popular at Crystal Spring, even parents get into the act.
Help from Hollins
They're used to being graded, but last week, students from Hollins University were doing the grading.  A group of college students volunteered at Breckinridge Middle as part of Hollins University's "Day of Service."  At Breckinridge, volunteers graded papers, decorated bulletin boards, and tutored students on Spanish.  "Day of Service" is an opportunity for Hollins students to link with their host community.
Painting the Park
A labor of love over the Labor Day weekend.  Saturday, about 30 Highland Park Elementary students took part in the Parks & Arts Program at Highland Park.  Parks & Arts is a new city-wide initiative to celebrate Roanoke's  neighborhoods. Students spread out around the park and painted or drew what they saw!  Their work will be on display at HIT'S Ice Cream.
Open House for Garden City
Thank you to everyone who came out to Garden City Elementary's Open House.  The school was extensively renovated this summer.  Sixteen classrooms received a modern makeover.  Garden City also has a new kitchen, a remodeled cafeteria, and a new gym floor.  Parents, students, teachers, alumni, and community members came out to see the renovations.
Science is cool
You could say the heat is rising at Virginia Heights Elementary, after 4th graders made their own thermometers!  It is a way for students to have fun and to create a better understanding of how our weather works.  When asked what the temperature could affect, one student replied "play time."  Students will be able to take their creations home.
We need laptops!
Have an old laptop?  We could use it!  Roanoke City Public Schools is collecting used laptops to put in the hands of students who don't have a computer at home.  Laptops don't have to have internet access.  To donate, please call 853-2381. Thanks for your help!
Dance Contestant visits RCPS
"So You Think You Can Dance" contestant Asher Walker visited William Fleming and Patrick Henry High Schools. The Franklin County native (center) conducted a master class for dance students at both high schools.  Walker taught different dance moves, including Hip Hop.  Walker was on the hit FOX show in 2011.
Going Green
All of our schools will be composting this year!  Compost is organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled as a fertilizer and soil amendment.  Last school year, RCPS composted 300 tons!  With 100% of our schools now composting, that number will certainly rise.  Thanks to teachers and students for being good environment stewards!
Second Week of School
Hard to believe, but we are in the second week of school.  Just a few reminders for parents: Please return all necessary paper work to your school, including media release forms.  We want to highlight some of the great things your children are doing, but can't until that form is signed.  Also, if you have any transportation issues, please call 853-2807. 
Back-to-School Information Center
Once again, we will have our Transportation Hotline up and running this week.  If you have specific questions/issues about Transportation, please call 853-2807.  You will be able to talk to a live person from 6 A.M. to 5:30 P.M.  Our Back-to-School page has a lot of useful information, including bus routes, Here is the link: http://backtoschool2013.rcps.info/ 
Terrific Teachers
Our teachers are some of the best.  This week, we've been visiting schools to highlight the great work of our teachers. They are dedicated, hardworking, and judging by this picture, very caring.  We salute all of you.  To see more teachers in action, check out our facebook page, www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
Meet Hurt Park's new leader
You could call her a veteran.  Theresa Kabath is entering her 20th year as an educator.  She is the new principal at Hurt Park Elementary.  Before that, she spent many years in Pulaski County.  Kabath's goal for Hurt Park is excellence.  She says her responsibility is to provide the support and resources to encourage students to excel academically, socially, and behaviorally.  Welcome to RCPS!
Meet Round Hill's new principal
The new principal at Round Hill Elementary is a familiar face.  Cory Hawks was an Assistant Principal at Fairview Elementary for 3 years.  He takes over Round Hill at an exciting time.  The school is getting a new gym, and major renovations are planned for next year.  "Our mission is to challenge students to achieve academically and to help them develop the social skills and habits of character that will promote current and future well being," said Hawks.
First Day of School
The 2013-2014 school year is officially underway!  RCPS welcomed back more than 13,000 students last week.  Teachers and students were especially excited at Garden City Elementary and Virginia Heights Elementary.  Those two schools saw major renovations project this past summer. More pictures of the first day, www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
Meet Monterey's new leader
She's done a little bit of everything.  During her ten years in education, Morgan Johnson has been a teacher, coach, and a coordinator.  She is now the acting principal at Monterey Elementary.  Johnson says the school's theme this year is "never doubt."  She wants her teachers and staff to never doubt that they can make a difference in the lives of students everyday.
Summer School Graduation
The class of 2013 is growing!  Friday, nearly 50 students from Patrick Henry and William Fleming High Schools picked up their diplomas after completing Summer School.  We congratulate all the new graduates.  We have a lot more pictures from the ceremony at www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
Moving Day at Virginia Heights
It's like having a brand new school.  Teachers and staff are getting their first look at the major renovations to Virginia Heights Elementary.  The school has new classrooms, an art room, library, and multi-purpose room.  Teachers are now busy unpacking and getting the school ready for the first day of school.  "We can't wait to see the children's reaction when they walk through the doors Monday," said Principal Linda Butts. 
Convocation 2013
"You Make a Difference!"  That's was the theme as Roanoke City Public Schools welcomed back more than 2,000 teachers and staff at its annual Convocation at the Roanoke Civic Center.  This year's speakers included School Board Chairman Todd Putney and Jefferson College of Health Sciences President N.L. Bishop.  Five of our principals also shared stories of how teachers have touched the life of a child, proving teachers can make a difference.
Back-to-School Extravaganza
Our Back-to-School Extravaganza was a huge success.  Nearly 3,000 people showed up at William Fleming High School to get free school supplies, free immunizations, and important forms.  It was also a chance for folks to meet their principals for the upcoming school year.  A big thank you to all the volunteers, especially William Fleming's football team, Fleming's JROTC, and Total Action Against Poverty (TAP) for doing face painting.
Honoring Coach Rudy Dillard
About a 100 people came out to honor the life of Rudy Dillard.  The long-time track coach at William Fleming High School passed away last week.  Teachers, students, graduates of WF, and family members gathered on the track for a "Memory Walk."  The crowd shared fond memories and released balloons.  Coach Dillard will certainly be missed.
When does school start?
We're just a week away from the start of school.  Teachers are already back, working hard in their classrooms, getting ready for the big day.  Students will begin the 2013-2014 school year on Monday, August 19, 2013.  We're looking forward to a great year!
Q99's Pack the Bus
This year's Pack the Bus was a great success.  Thanks to Q99, Walmart, Pepsi, and everyone who donated school supplies.  You guys rock!  Our principals and administrators had a blast purcashing pens, pencils, crayons, etc.  If you still want to donate, we have collection boxes at Central Office and Ruffner.  More pictures from Pack the Bus at www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
Summer Construction Update
Several of our schools are getting a modern makeover this summer.  Major projects include Garden City Elementary, Round Hill Elementary, and Virginia Heights Elementary.  Among the smaller projects are new gym surfaces at Jackson Middle and Lincoln Terrace Elementary.  Right now, it will be down to the wire but most of the projects should be completed by the first day of school.
RCPS+ was a huge success
Our new six week summer enrichment program has come to an end.  RCPS+ had a heavy focus on reading, writing, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)More than 2,000 students took part in RCPS+.  One person wrote "it was a wonderful program.  Major kudos to all who made it happen."  We have many great pictures of RCPS+ at www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
New athletic director at William Fleming
A big welcome to T.J. "Shep" Shepardson, the new athletic director at William Fleming High School.  He has spent the last 16 years in education, coaching tennis, track, baseball, soccer, and basketball.  "I look forward to meeting the community as we increase pride here at William Fleming and I can't wait to work with coaches and players to win a number of District Championships," said Shepardson.
U.S. Senator visits RCPS+
U.S. Senator Tim Kaine visited Westside Elementary to see what RCPS+ is all about.  Kaine had lunch with some teachers, spoke to rising 5th graders about leadership, read to rising 1st graders, and saw some students put together robots.  At the end, teachers and students gave Senator Kaine a Westside t-shirt.
Tweet Together
A lot of you have already liked us on Facebook.  It is now time to follow us on Twitter.  We've made it easy. There is a Twitter icon on the top left of this homepage.  Or just go to www.twitter.com/RoanokeSchools
RCPS+ had a heavy emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). With that in mind, Junior Achievement sponsored STEM Day for middle school students.  It was a chance for students to get excited and learn about scientific careers.  They saw demonstrations from nurses, paramedics, utility workers, and microbiologists.
Patrick Henry High School principal announced
A familiar face is now  the principal of Patrick Henry High School.  Joseph Jablonski officially took over the post on July 9th.  He was previously an assistant principal at PH.  "I look forward to working with students, teachers, and the community to continue the successes here at PH and take the school to the next level," said Jablonski.
Summer Construction
The sounds of hammers and nails can be heard at many of our schools this summer.  Major construction projects are taking place at four schools.  The gym at Lincoln Terrace Elementary is getting resurfaced.  Round Hill Elementary is actually getting a new gym.  Virginia Heights Elementary will soon have a new library, gym, and classrooms.  At Garden City Elementary, classrooms and the cafeteria are getting a modern look.
Roanoke College honors Doris Ennis
Congratulations to Doris Ennis.  She received the prestigious Margaret Sue Copenhaver Contribution Education Award at a luncheon at Roanoke College.  Every summer, the school hosts a training program for teachers and administrators that is named for Margaret Sue Copenhaver, a retired teacher from Richmond.  Each year, the Copenhaver Award is given to someone who exemplifies Copenhaver's commitment to education.
School Board Investiture
The City of Roanoke School Board Trustee Investiture Ceremony took place at the Roanoke City Courthouse. Suzanne Moore was reappointed to the school board to a 3rd term.  Annette Lewis was reappointed for her 2nd term.  William Hopkins, Jr. is the newest member to join the school board.  The swearing-in was conducted by the Honorable Clifford Weckstein.
United Way Day of Caring
Our employees give so much to the United Way and last week was a day for the United Way to give back.  Every year, the organization holds a Day of Caring. Volunteers from 25 different companies ventured out to places around the Roanoke Valley.  This year, a group spruced up Stonewall Jackson Middle School.  More pictures, www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
Pay raise for RCPS Employees
The Roanoke City School Board has approved a 2% pay raise for all RCPS Employees for the 2013-2014 School Year.  All employees will receive a step increase.  If the step increase is less than 2%, then the raise will be 2%.
Art Camp
The Taubman Museum of Art should take note, it may have a future artist in its midst.  Last week, RCPS held its annual Art Camp at the Taubman.  The first session had about 15 middle school students particpating.  They made their own art project; a community map of sorts that documents places that are important to them.   More pics, www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
Farewell Chairman David Carson
He is a great leader and will be missed.  That was said over and over again at David Carson's last School Board Meeting.  Mr. Carson was presented with a framed resolution from the School Board as well as gavel!  How appropriate since he is becoming a Circuit Court Judge.  Mr. Carson says he may be gone from the Board but he will continue to be a presence in the schools.
Leadership Conference 2013
For decades, Roanoke City Public Schools has held a Leadership Conference for principals and other administrators.  The goal is to look at new and current approaches that will take the school system to the next level.  The 3 day conference, held at William Fleming High School, focused on the latest technology in the classroom, what's new in data and testing, and techniques that work. 
Community Meeting for Patrick Henry Principal
More than 50 people came out to meet the two finalists for principal at Patrick Henry High School.  The audience had a chance to ask each candidate a serious of questions. The finalists are Kathy Duncan, Director of ROTEC, and Joe Jablonski, Vice Principal at PH.
Promoting healthy living
Horton Park was the place to be Saturday.  The PATH Coalition held a Community Day for Hurt Park Elementary students.  They were treated to plenty of fun activities and a bag full of fresh fruits and vegetables.  The goal of the event was to promote healthy living.  It was so successful there are already plans to hold another Community Day next year.
Virginia Heights gets the sledgehammer
Virginia Heights Elementary has had a modular unit for nearly 15 years, not anymore.  Thursday, the principal and teachers gathered to watch the demolition of the modular unit.  Beforehand, they each got to swing the sledgehammer.  Construction will soon begin on 5 new classrooms, a library, a multi-purpose room, and an art room.  The $2.4 Million project is scheduled to be finished by the first day of school.
City of Roanoke honors David Carson
This was David Carson's last Commencement as chairman of the Roanoke City School Board.  Carson will step down in June to become a Circuit Court Judge.  During Patrick Henry High School's Graduation, Roanoke Mayor David Bowers presented Carson with a key to the City of Roanoke.  We appreciate Mr. Carson's years of service with RCPS.
Graduation 2013
We tip our hats to the Class of 2013 on a job well done!   William Fleming and Patrick Henry High Schools held Commencement Ceremonies at the Roanoke Civic Center.  Fleming handed out 301 diplomas, PH 416.  We want to congratulate all the graduates.  Plenty of pictures at www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
Governor's Summer Residential Program
It will be a summer like no other for Joseph Lash and Ben Polk of Patrick Henry High School.  They both attend the Governor's School.  They've been accepted into the Governor's School Residential Program.  It provides gifted high school juniors and seniors, from across Virginia, with intensive educational experiences.  Congratulations to both for being selected for this prestigious program.
Forest Park Academy holds Graduation Ceremonies
You can now call them graduates!  Exactly 100 seniors picked up their diplomas at Forest Park Academy's Graduation at the Jefferson Center.  Forest Park is a school that helps students who have dropped out or are in danger of leaving school.  "Forest Park Academy is all about second chances," said Superintendent Rita Bishop.
Public art created by RCPS students
The next time you drive down Williamson Road, you'll want to pay close attention.  Breckinridge Middle Art students have created a sculpture for the Williamson Road Library.  It is a 7 foot movable cube made out of 150 individual paintings of street signs.  More than 130 students worked on the project.  It will be located in front of the library for the next 18 months.
End of the school year fun
The last week of school is all about fun.  Bouncy inflatables, dunking booths, and limo rides are just some of the activities going on, before the last day of school Thursday.  We are trying to get to as many events as we can. You can check out a lot more pictures at www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
Belk Service Day at Preston Park
Preston Park Elementary got a makeover of sorts.  About 55 employees from Roanoke's two Belk stores volunteered at the school last week.  They built picnic tables, book shelves, pulled weeds, and painted murals.  Belk Employees donated their time, the materials, and books for the school.  This is all part of Belk's 125th anniversary.  A big thank you to these volunteers.
Senior Day at Patrick Henry & William Fleming
Friday was all about the seniors at Patrick Henry and William Fleming High Schools.  PH held a picnic at Salem Stadium, complete with hamburgers and hot dogs as well as a mechanical bull.  WF held a cookout inside the cafeteria.  It was supposed to be in the stadium but the high winds forced it inside.  More photos, www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
Remembering a beloved teacher
She was known for her kind heart and for mentoring countless young teachers.  Mary Ann Robinson passed away this school year.  She taught at Highland Park Elementary for 24 years.  Friday, teachers and students gathered to plant a tree in her honor.  Congregations In Action (CIA) donated the tree, which is located in front of the school.
Anti-Bullying Poster Contest Winners
How do you stop bullying?  Who better to ask than our students.  Each year, RCPS holds an Anti-Bullying Poster Contest for the elementary and middle schools.  This year's winners are Sarah Jones of Grandin Court Elementary and Jasmine Allinson (pictured) of Jackson Middle School.  Their posters will be reproduced and displayed in our schools.  More pics, www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
Young Authors
How do you get published at a young age?  Just ask the 1st graders in Michele Strayer's class at RAMS.  The students worked together to research, write, and illustrate a book about birds.  The goal is to get these kids excited about writing and for them to be proud of being published.  The students read the book to their parents at school last Friday.
Personal Finance pays off for Patrick Henry High School
Patrick Henry High School is one of the Top 100 Best High Schools for teaching Personal Finance.  The announcement was made at the New York Stock Exchange by "Working in Support of Education (w!se)."  This is the first year for the rankings.  The major factor was the average score on the Financial Literacy Certification Test.
Teacher wins the Lottery....kinda
Talk about some really good odds. Garden City Elementary Teacher Matthew Miller has won the 2013 Virginia Lottery Super Teacher award.  Miller found out during a surprise school assembly.  Virginia Lottery Executive Director, Paula Otto, (left) presented Miller (right) with a $2,000 cash prize and a $2,000 classroom credit from The Supply Room Companies.  Miller says he was completely surprised.
Patrick Henry student wins B'nai B'rith Award
Congratulations to Caroline Brailsford of Patrick Henry High School.  She is this year's female winner of the B'nai B'rith Award.  "I'm truly honored and humbled to receive this prestigious award.  I'm so happy to be able to represent PH," said Brailsford.  Caroline will attend UNC next year.
Retirement Dinner 2013
They put in countless years of service with RCPS and Monday night we said thanks.  The school system held its annual retirement dinner at the Roanoke Country Club.  More than 30 soon to be retirees were honored.  Mary Robinson, who passed away this year, had 39 years of service! Thanks to all of the retirees.  Enjoy your retirement.  You've certainly earned it.  www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
Baccalaureate Sunday
They've worked hard all four years of high school and Sunday was a day to honor their achievements.  Patrick Henry High School and William Fleming High School each held a Baccalaureate Service.  It was a chance to hand out awards, scholarships, and congratulate these outstanding graduates. More pictures from both ceremonies at www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
Capping Ceremony at William Fleming
William Fleming High School has a tradition that goes back to the 1990's.  Before graduation, the Senior Class has a Capping Ceremony.  It's a chance for the soon to be graduates to have a loved one or someone special place their cap on their head.  That special someone can be a parent, sibling, friend, and even a teacher.  More pictures, www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
Thanking our volunteers
The thank yous continue.  For the last month, many of our schools have been holding events to show their appreciation to our volunteers.  On Friday, it was Lincoln Terrace Elementary's turn with a breakfast. We calculate that we have more than a 1,000 volunteers working in all of our schools.  Whoa!  Thanks again to all your hard work, your dedication, and making a difference in a child's life.
Learning about water conservation
We use it everyday and don't think much about it.  But do you know how much water you waste?  The Western Virginia Water Authority holds programs throughout our schools to teach students about water conservation.  Last week, 3rd graders from Monterey Elementary visited the water treatment plant and went on a nature hike at Carvin's Cove, Roanoke's main water source. 
Vella Wright announces her retirement
It is never easy to say good-bye.  After 29 years with RCPS, the last 6 as Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, Vella Wright will retire this summer.  "The most rewarding career that I can imagine is working with students, teachers, and principals who influence them.  I have enjoyed my experiences and encourage young people to become educators because there is no better job," said Wright.
Pizza Party!
What's better than eating pizza?  Making your own!  Pre-kindergarten students from Virginia Heights Elementary got to do just that at Grace's Pizza.  They poured cheese on their pizza and then enjoyed it once it came out of the oven.  The students are visiting different businesses in the Grandin Village area to get to know their community.  A photo gallery at www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
Patrick Henry is one of the best high schools in the country
This is a good time of year for Patrick Henry High School.  Newsweek's "Best High Schools in America" ranks PH at 1,868.  The Washington Post is also out with its annual list of "America's Most Challenging High Schools."  PH ranks 397 nationwide, 33 in Virginia.  Congratulations to the teachers, administrators, parents, and students!
Feeding the Mind
You need a good night's sleep and a hearty breakfast before you take the SOL's.  With that in mind, Wasena Elementary's PTA makes breakfast for the first day of testing for each grade.  Last week, it was 4th grade's turn.  It gets students off on the right foot and rewards them for their hard work.  The meal includes a bagel, fruit, and juice.  Photo gallery at www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
Children's Book Week
Read any good books lately?  This week is Children's Book Week.  It started in 1919 and is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country.  Many of our schools have special reading programs. For example, the student pictured has read more than 400 books this year at Westside Elementary.  What is your favorite children's book?  A Dr. Seuss book?  Clifford the Big Red Dog? 
Chicks take over Grandin Court
They've been incubating chick eggs for weeks, and now kindergarteners at Grandin Court Elementary are seeing the results of their hard work.  The eggs recently hatched and this week they got to hold the chicks for the first time.  While outside, the students put out water for the chicks, but instead they used it for a bath! 
Rita Bishop named Virginia's Superintendent of the Year
You read right, Dr. Rita Bishop is this year's Virginia Superintendent of the Year.  She was selected at the Virginia Association of School Superintendents (VASS) conference at the Hotel Roanoke.  Dr. Bishop will now represent the Commonwealth of Virginia in the National Superintendent of the Year competition in February 2014. Click HERE to view the VASS press release.
RCPS Art Show
Could the next Picasso be right here in Roanoke?  You should head to the Jefferson Center to find out.  RCPS is having its annual Art Show from now until the end of May.   It showcases student art from every school in the district.   You can catch more works of art at www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
SOL Strong
SOL testing begins this week for elementary and middle schools.  Before the big test, many schools are holding events to get students pumped.  Several had SOL pep rallies with a theme, like Survivor.  Round Hill Elementary had a victory parade. Crystal Spring Elementary (pictured) gave out free Maggie Moo's ice cream.  Good luck to everyone! 
Planting the seed at Hurt Park Elementary
How do we stop childhood obesity?  You may want to look at Hurt Park Elementary.  Positive Actions Towards Health (PATH) has funded a garden at the school.  It exposes students to fruits/vegetables they might not normally see.  They also get to plant in the garden, which leads to increased interest and desire to try these foods. This week's rain should help!
School Nurse Day
They are there with a band-aid, a smile, and are always there when you need them.  Wednesday was School Nurse Day, a time to recognize school nurses for their dedication and hard work.  There are 74,000 school nurses nationwide.  They are being acknowledged for advancing the well-being, academic success, and life-long achievements of all students by providing a critical safety net for children.
Food for thought
This is School Nutrition Employee Week, a time to acknowledge the hard work of food service employees.  Did you know here in Roanoke City, they serve 9,200 lunches and 4,100 breakfasts each day?  They often arrive at the school at 6:30 in the morning, follow strict federal nutrition guidelines, and make a pretty good meal.  We tip our hats to you!
National Teacher Appreciation Week
Be sure to thank your teachers.  This is National Teacher Appreciation Week.  It is a time to say thank you to all of our dedicated teachers who make a difference in children's lives and put in countless hours.  If you would like to share your memories of a favorite teacher or to say thanks to one, go to our facebook page, www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
Exclusive tour of new Center in the Square
Fishburn Park Elementary was the first school group to tour the newly renovated Center in the Square.  Students got to see workers release clown fish into the new 5,000 gallon fish tank.  Fishburn adopted two fish and got the chance to name them during their visit.   The new Center in the Square will open to the public May 18th. www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
Patrick Henry Band to play at Pearl Harbor
Just one high school band from Virginia will perform at the 2014 Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade in Hawaii.  Patrick Henry High School's Band has been selected as an official Battleship state ambassador participant.  PH was recommended to the committee anonymously. If you would like to donate money for the trip, contact Band Teacher Alex Schmitt at aschmitt@rcps.info
Forest Park Academy reaches a major milestone
One reason Roanoke's graduation rate continues to go up is Forest Park Academy.  It is a school to help students who are struggling or previously dropped out.  Now in its 5th year, Forest Park has graduated more than 500 students!  By the end of the summer, it expects to be close to 700.  Principal Eric Anderson believes individualized instruction is a big reason for the school's success.  
Banding together at Morningside
Call it Survivor: Middle School.  5th graders at Morningside Elementary made survivor bracelets.  They will be used by students to help them band together as they transition to middle school at Stonewall Jackson next year.  You will notice the bracelets are in Jackson's school colors. 
Teacher Appreciation
We can't thank our teachers enough.  With that in mind, this week is National Teacher Appreciation Week. At Grandin Court Elementary, students brought in bright beautiful spring flowers for their teachers.  The PTA provided a nice sit down lunch complete with homemade mac and cheese as well as gourmet cupcakes for dessert!
SOL Support
Taking the SOL's can be very scary, especially if it is your first time.  Students at Roanoke Academy for Mathematics & Science (RAMS) received some encouragement before the big test.  Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church sent letters of support to each of the 3rd graders.  They will start testing next week.  More photos at www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
SOL Spirit Week
Plenty of students were seeing double at Stonewall Jackson Middle School.  To get ready for the SOL's, the school is having plenty of fun activities to get students excited about the test.  Tuesday, students dresssed as twins.  Still to come, jersey and hat day.  Testing begins next week.  More photos at www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
Noteworthy Music Festival ends on a high note
Thanks to all who came out to the 2nd annual Noteworthy Music Festival Saturday at Patrick Henry High School.  It raised more than $3,500!!!  The money will benefit Early Music Education Programs in Roanoke City.   More photos at www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
Fairview students have the right VIBE
Reading books pays-off!  Just ask the students at Fairview Elementary, enrolled in the Accelerated Reading Program.  Students who read 10 books in the past month and passed a test got a special treat Friday.  They got to attend a dance party hosted by a VIBE radio DJ.  230 students danced their shoes off in the gym.  They read a total of 2,300 books.  Whoa!
RCPS students take part in Little Feet Meet
With plenty of determination and tons of smiles, hundreds of Special Olympians took part in the 4th annual Little Feet Meet at Northside High School.  It featured Special Olympians from pre-school thru 5th grade and Roanoke City Public Schools was well represented.  Congratulations to all the young athletes.  More photos at www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
RCPS selects 2013 Teacher of the Year
Congratulations to Daniel Kuehl of James Breckinridge Middle School.  He is the 2013 Teacher of the Year!  Daniel received $1,000 from Lumos Networks, $500 from WDBJ-TV, $150 worth of car supplies from Advance Auto, flowers from George's Flowers, and passes from Virginia Dare Cruises.  Congratulations to Daniel and all the nominees! 
Middle School Summer Art Camp
Looking for something to do this summer?  RCPS is holding a Middle School Summer Art Camp at the Taubman Museum of Art.  Students will explore a wide variety of art techniques and even take part in their own art show!  The camp is for rising 7th and 8th graders.  June 10-13 is for Addison, Breckinridge, and Jackson.  July 29-August 1 is for Madison and Woodrow Wilson.  The deadline to apply is May 3, 2013. For more information, call 853-2877. Click HERE for an application.
Honoring our volunteers
National Volunteer Week was a big success.  It highlighted people doing extraordinary things through service.  Many schools held special events to say thanks to our volunteers.  Wednesday, Highland Park Elementary had an appreciation breakfast.  During the school year, volunteers put in more than 5,000 hours at that school alone, wow!.  A big thank you to all of the volunteers at all of our schools. 
Fishburn Park celebrates Earth Week 2013
The 4th annual Earth Week celebration at Fishburn Park Elementary is now over.  The school had a whole week of activities including hybrid cars, a GPS course, live animals, and a walk-a-thon.  This year's focus was "Goodwill for Earth."  The school also raised money for the Mill Mountain Zoo. 
Congressman Goodlatte honors Jackson Middle students
Internet safety is a top priority of Congressman Bob Goodlatte.  Monday, he spoke to students at Stonewall Jackson Middle School who have participated in the "My Digital Life Program."  It covers a wide range of topics including privacy, cyberbullying, and maintaining a responsible social networking profile. Congressman Goodlatte reminded students nothing posted online is private and it stays there forever.
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Upcoming Events

  • Time Capsule

    Before Huff Lane Elementary was demolished, construction crews retrieved a time capsule from 1950 that was placed in the school.

  • Time Capsule

    Some of the items from the time capsule include coins, newspapers, and stamps from more than 60 years ago.

  • Westside goes to Washington

    Congratulations to the Westside Debate Team. 9 students performed at Howard University in Washington D.C.

  • School Board Recognitions

    At the April meeting, the School Board recognized Patrick Henry High School's Forensics Team for winning the 6A State Championship.

  • School Board Recognitions

    The School Board also recognized Preston Park Elementary for winning the National Excellence in Urban Education Bronze Award. Principal Fisher poses with some of the teachers.

  • School Board Recognitions

    Warner McGhee of the Roanoke Valley Governor's School and Patrick Henry High School student was recognized for being a grand award winner in the Western Virginia Regional Science Fair.

  • School Board Recognitions

    The School Board recognized Daniel Plasencia of Preston Park Elementary for winning the City of Roanoke Fair Housing Poster Contest.

  • School Board Recognitions

    Vina Tran of Preston Park Elementary also won the City of Roanoke Fair Housing Poster Contest.

  • Hatched

    Chicks have hatched at Hurt Park Elementary creating a lot of fun and a learning experience for students.

  • PJ Day

    Staff and students wore pj's for Pajama Day at Virginia Heights Elementary. Looks like fun.

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