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Attendance Zones

RCPS Happenings

District Page Announcements
Load The Bus for Kids
THIS WEEKEND:  Roanoke City Public Schools and Roanoke County Public Schools are joining forces to hold the largest school supplies drive in the Roanoke Valley.  We will collect supplies at three Walmart locations including Valley View, Bonsack, and Clearbrook.  It will take place TODAY from 3 to 7 p.m. and Saturday Aug. 2 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Please stop by and donate school supplies.  This is also Virginia's Tax Free Weekend so anything you can do is appreciated. 
Back-to-School 2014
The first day of school will soon be here and we've got you covered.  Our Back-to-School web page has important dates, Orientation information, the complete 2014-2015 School Calendar, as well as the school supply list of each school.  We will post school bus routes closer to the beginning of school. Remember, the first day of school is Monday, August 18.  Click here to view our Back-to School web page.
2014 Football Schedule
Are you ready for some high school football?  Kick-off to the football season is just around the corner and we've made it easy to know who is playing who and when.  Are the Patriots playing at home or is it the Colonels?  We've put the high school football schedule in one easy place.  Click here to see the full season. Good luck to Patrick Henry and William Fleming High Schools.
Important Dates for Back-to-School
Back-to-school will be here before you know it.  Here are a few important dates:
August 11- Convocation for teachers is at 9 a.m. at the Roanoke Civic Center
August 16- Back-to-School Extravaganza is 9 a.m. to noon at William Fleming High School.  We will distribute free school supplies to Roanoke City students
August 18- First Day of School for students.
Summer home visits
Teachers from Highland Park Elementary are busy this summer but not in the classroom.  They are making home visits as part of Project Good FORM (Family Outreach in Reading and Math).  It is a chance to engage students and their families in reading and math over the summer.  Each student receives books and math games, thanks to the PTA and Congregations in Action (CIA).  Last year, the school visited 65 homes.  This year, it is 80. 
Round Hill Update
Round Hill Elementary's renovation project includes a new kitchen, cafeteria, and six new classrooms.  The kitchen was recently built in Pennsylvania and then shipped to Roanoke.  Crews installed the 8 large sections using a crane and are now building the cafeteria. The project is expected to be completed sometime this fall.  Until then, the current cafeteria will stay operational.
Generous donation
We put out the call and Elks Lodge #197 of Roanoke answered in a very big way.  Members donated $1,000 for our school supplies campaign.  When they heard we had more than 600 homeless students last year and 76% of our students are on free and reduced lunch, it prompted the organization to make a large donation.  A big thank you to the Elks Lodge for caring about our community.
It's a wrap
Thank you teachers and students who participated in RCPS+.  We had more than 2,500 students in our summer enrichment program and we heard nothing but good things about it.  One parent wrote on our Facebook page "So sad to see it end, my kids loved it."  We also heard compliments about the field trips and how much the students learned because of RCPS+.  Enjoy the rest of your summer!    
Surprise Gift
Middle school students who participated in the Governor's School Science Camp got a sweet surprise. Each camper went home with a free brand new laptop, courtesy of the Interactive Achievement Foundation for Kids.  "The IA Foundation for Kids Board of Directors felt it would be a huge benefit for these students to have a computer as they strive to qualify one day for the Governor's School," said CEO Jon Hagmaier. 
New principal at Virginia Heights
Theresa Schmitt is the new principal of Virginia Heights Elementary.  She was appointed at the July School Board meeting.  Ms. Schmitt has been an educator for 25 years.  She's been a teacher, Special Education Coordinator, and an Assistant Principal.  "I'm excited about this journey.  I spent a lot of time last year at Virginia Heights and look forward to continue to build relationships with students, staff, and parents.  Not to mention the Grandin Village community. 
2014-2015 School Year Calendar
UPDATE:  We have received our waiver from the state to start before Labor Day.  The first day of school for students is Monday, August 18.  To see a more detailed look at the 2014-2015 School Year Calendar, click here.
New principal at Westside
Tamika Singletary-Johnson says it already feels like home.  She is the next principal of Westside Elementary.  She has more than a decade of experience as an educator.  More recently, she was an assistant principal in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  "I'm honored to be the principal of Westside Elementary.  I already have plenty of Eagle pride," said Singletary-Johnson.  Welcome to Westside.
RCPS+ Information
Our summer enrichment program runs from now  through Friday, July 25.  More than 2,500 are participating in RCPS+ in the second year.  For more information about the program and bus routes, click here.  You will get details about the themes each week, the field trips, and an overview of the curriculum. 
New principal for Madison Middle
Whitney Johnson will take over as principal of James Madison Middle.  She has been the assistant principal at Madison for the last several years.  "I'm so honored to be named the new principal of Madison.  I look forward to serving the district in a leadership role," said Johnson.  She plans to hold an open house as we get closer to the beginning of the school year.
New principal for Garden City
She's back.  Jill Lane has been named the new principal for Garden City Elementary.  She had been an assistant principal in Roanoke for many years, the last two she was a principal in Floyd County.  She lives in Southeast Roanoke and is looking forward to working with the Garden City community.  Welcome back!
Middle school camp at Governor's School
It's not rocket science, the earlier the better.  With that in mind, the Roanoke Valley Governor's School held a camp for middle school students.  20 students from six area school systems participated in the three week camp.  The goal is to get them excited about science, learn computer skills, and spark interest in the Governor's School.  The camp was free for students, thanks to Interactive Achievement.  By the end, each student completed a Science Fair Project.
Westside Debate Team to present at VSBA
Educators from all over Virginia will soon see what Roanokers already knows, the Westside Debate Team is impressive.  The Virginia School Boards Association has invited the Westside Debate Team to perform at its conference in Richmond in July.  Three students from Westside will debate Brown v. Board of Education: 60 Years Later.  Congratulations and good luck.
Stephanie Hogan promoted
A familiar face is the new Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning. Stephanie Hogan was appointed to the position at the June School Board meeting.  She has spent 22 years with Roanoke City Public Schools, the last several as principal of James Madison Middle.  She is excited about the job and is looking forward to working with everyone in Roanoke City Public Schools.
Summer School
Summer School for high school students runs from now until Friday, July 25.  For bus route information, click here.  Please note:  These routes don't include RCPS+ for rising 9th graders. For that, please visit the RCPS+ webpage. 
Investiture Ceremony
Two familiar faces are returning to the Roanoke City School Board.  Bill Hopkins and Lori Vaught were reappointed to the School Board during an Investiture Ceremony at the Roanoke City Courthouse.  Judge David Carson, past chairman of the Roanoke City School Board, presided over the swearing in.  Mr. Hopkins and Ms. Vaught will serve for four years.
Class of 2014 Graduates
There were plenty of smiles, pats on the back, even a few tears as more than 650 graduates of Roanoke City picked up their diplomas during Commencement Ceremonies at the Roanoke Civic Center.  You can find a lot more photos from both Patrick Henry and William Fleming High Schools graduations at www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
Forest Park Graduation
This is just the beginning.  That was the theme at Forest Park Academy's 6th graduation.  72 graduates picked up their diplomas at a ceremony at the Jefferson Center.  More than 750 have now graduated since Forest Park Academy opened six years ago.  It is a school designed to help students who are in danger of dropping out.  Principal Eric Anderson told the graduates "You haven't seen your greatest days yet.  This is just the beginning."  Congratulations graduates.
Meal at a Mansion
It is one of the most famous homes in Roanoke and students from Westside Elementary's 21st Century Program got to visit the Rockledge Mansion on Mill Mountain.  Nancy and Kevin Dye (pictured) hosted the students and local chefs from The American Culinary Federation.  These culinary masters teach cooking class at Westside during the school year.  The students were treated to a delicious meal.
End of the year fun
During the school year, it is all about hard work.  At the end of the school year, it is all about having fun. Students were treated to field/fun days as well as cookouts.  They played on slip and slides and inflables, as well as fun games like beach volleybal and sack races.  Not to mention they ate plenty of hot dogs right off the grill.  More pictures at www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
Close Shave
Would you let a student cut your hair?  Principal Birdlebough of Stonewall Jackson Middle is certainly a brave one.  He and Assistant Principal Littleton allowed students who did really well on the SOLs to shave their heads!  One by one, the students took turns with the electrical shaver until their hair was all gone!  Be sure to check out Mr. Birdlebough and Mr. Littleton's buzz cuts. 
Virginia Preschool Initiative
RCPS is sitll accepting applications for the Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI).  Children must be age four by September 30, 2014.  Eligibility and placement are based on the child's home address and identified needs.  The child must be a Roanoke City resident.  Applications are available in elementary school offices, www.roanokepreschool.org  or call 853-2957
Baseball Bleachers
Take me out to the ballgame is more enjoyable at James Madison Middle School.  With the help from the PTA, the school raised $8,000 to buy bleachers for the baseball field.  The main fundraiser was a walkathon when students secured pledges and then walked around the school.  Before, fans had to sit on the grass or bring a lawn chair. 
RCPS is ahead of the curve
Eating healthier is a way of life at all Roanoke City Schools.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture will require  schools next year to serve whole grain in everything from pizza crusts, rolls, biscuits, tortillas, to pastas.  RCPS is already meeting the new standards, transitioning to whole grains two years ago.  Students have adapted easily to the changes.  We haven't seen a decreases in lunch purchases. 
Last Week
This is the last week of school.  We want to remind you of a few important things:

May 29- Last Student Day (2 hours early dismissal)

May 30- Graduation (Patrick Henry at 10 A.M., William Fleming at 2 P.M.)


Combined Champs
THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO CAME OUT.  Fresh off their State Championship, Patrick Henry High School's Forensics Team will perform with Salem High School's Forensics Team.  Forensics is a mixture of public speaking, poetry, interpretation of plays, and lots of humor.
2014 Retirement Celebration
A job well done!  61 employees are retiring from Roanoke City Public Schools this year and they were honored during a reception at the Roanoke Country Club.  Combined, they have 1,348 years of service with RCPS.  "I'm very appreciative of their combined years of service.  These individuals have demonstrated their true commitment to our children," said Dr. Rita Bishop.  Thank you and enjoy retirement.
Pink for a principal
April Plympton is learning a lot about love, support, and friendship.  The Fairview Elementary principal recently discovered she has breast cancer.  To show support, teachers and staff have been wearing pink shirts.  "I have been overwhelmed with not only the support from my Fairview family, but also the support from other schools, my peers, central office, and our facilities department as I begin my battle with cancer.  I am honored to be a part of the RCPS family," said Plympton.
Baccalaureate Services
Honoring the Class of 2014 is underway. Both Patrick Henry and William Fleming High Schools recently held Baccalaureate Services.  The ceremonies highlighted academic achievements and seniors accepted into the Community College Access Program (CCAP).  Various awards and scholarships were handed out to deserving seniors.  More pictures: www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
Hope at Highland
When Highland Park Elementary opened a school store, it was stocked with toys, stuffed animals, and school supplies donated by area churches, staff, and the PTA.  The whole idea is to reward students who have good grades, good behavior, and good attendance.  But administrators found many students would rather donate the bucks their earned to help others.  The school is collecting money to buy desks for students in Malawi, providing hope to students half a world away.
Planes, Trains & Automobiles
It started five years ago with just a few small groups.  Today, it has expanded to include every kindergartner in Roanoke City.  Each spring, students visit the Virginia Museum of Transportation for a fun and educational opportunity.  They don't just tour the museum.  They have to solve problems, take part in scavenger hunts, and explore their imaginations. The best part?  They visit the museum free of charge. 
Grant gratitude
Denise Wilson of Fairview Elementary knows how to get creative with money.  The kindergarten teacher has received more than $6,000 in grants to help pay for extras in her classroom.  They include a lego table (pictured), books, an ipad mini, and other educational materials.  She often uses www.donorschoose.org; a website that allows ordinary folks and businesses to fund classroom projects.  Wilson recently received $500 from the Roanoke Macy's.
Community Meeting
THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO CAME OUT.  Superintendent Rita Bishop will hold a community meeting at Virginia Heights Elementary.  It is a chance for parents to discuss the qualities and characteristics you believe important for the next principal at Virginia Heights. 
Preschool pizza
Grandin Village is a great place to shop and go to school.  Virginia Heights Elementary has now brought the two together.  Throughout the school year, preschoolers visit many of the businesses in the Grandin area to get to know the community. This week, they stopped by Grace's Pizza to become pizza makers.  Students made their own pizza and then ate it all up.  It was a chance for them to learn about the different food groups and good table manners.  Looks yummy.
Wilson student wins favorite teacher contest
Ms. Hanes calls her a doll and for good reason.  Kaitlin Potter of Woodrow Wilson Middle School entered the My Favorite Teacher Essay Contest sponsored by Barnes and Noble.  Kaitlin wrote about her English Teacher Ms. Hanes who she calls a good role model.  Kaitlin was the winner from the Valleyview Roanoke location and has received a certificate.  Ms. Hanes got a plaque, tote bag, and a candle.  Congratulations to both.
RCPS Art Show
Our students have a lot of talent and now it's being showcased at the Jefferson Center.  On display you will find more than a hundred works of art from elementary, middle, and high school.  You will find photography, portraits, drawings, and ceramics.  High school is featured on the 2nd floor, elementary and middle on the 3rd floor.  They will be on display at the Jefferson Center until May 23rd.  You will find more pictures of the art at facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
Preston Park student wins contest
Elijah Law of Preston Park Elementary can give a good speech and now he is an award winner because of it.  The 5th grader is one of eleven winners nationwide of the NCUST Excellence in Urban Education Student Speech Contest.  Elijah submitted a video of his speech titled "How My School Influences My Life."  He will receive a check for $200 from the National Center for Urban School Transformation.  He plans to use the money to buy kid friendly games.
Preserving History
George Washington is now at Grandin Court Elementary.  The Nancy Christian Fleming Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution donated a framed pictured of the first president.  The group has provided this gift to 3 of our schools and plans to do more in the future.  Grandin Court's first graders received the picture because they are learning about George Washington as part of the SOLs.
Anne Holton visits Fallon Park
Fallon Park Elementary is a great example of an urban school making the grade.  That's why Virginia's Secretary of Education held a roundtable discussion with some of the faculty at Fallon Park.  Anne Holton wanted to know what works, what doesn't, and what needs improvement.  They talked about the importance of preschool, parent involvement, and the need for more technology at home.  Ms. Holton thanked the teachers and gave them each a box of chocolates.
Safer Play
How about a playground that if you fall on the ground you barely have a scratch on you?  It is a reality at Monterey Elementary. RCPS has replaced mulch on the playground with rubber surfacing. The benefits are it is virtually maintenance free, it will not freeze or hold water, it's insect free, and the rubber surfacing is made up of 70% recycled material.  The hope is to eventually install this at other schools.
Teacher Appreciation Week
Thanks to everyone who made Teacher Appreciation Week so special for our teachers.  Many of our schools and PTA's held special events including providing breakfast, lunch, desserts, and gfit bags.  Teacher Appreciation Week may be over but it is never too late to thank a teacher and show your appreciation.
Westside Community Meeting
UPDATE:  Thanks to everyone who came out for this meeting. There is a principal opening at Westside Elementary.  Parents are invited to participate in a meeting to discuss the qualities and characteristics they believe important for the next principal at Westside.  Please join Superintendent Rita Bishop at 6:30 p.m. TONIGHT, in the Westside Cafeteria.  We look forward to seeing you.
A plate full of appreciation
Any recipe for success includes good food and good people.  With that in mind, we said thank you to all our food services workers during School Nutrition Employee Appreciation Week. "RCPS Food and Nutrition employees serve 2.3 million meals throughout the school year.  Their hard work and dedication are greatly appreciated," said Food Services Director Tom Powers.
Little Feet Meet
Better late than never.  The Special Olympics held its annual Little Feet Meet at Northside High School Monday.  It was postponed several times last week because of the rain.  Elementary students from 35 schools in the Roanoke Valley competed in various activities including bowling, jumping, and soccer.  Congratulations to all the Special Olympians and thanks to Northside for hosting the event.
Matt Newton is Teacher of the Year
Congratulations to Matthew Newton of Fishburn Park Elementary.  He was crowned the 2014 Teacher of the Year at a banquet at the Jefferson Center.  He received a $1,000 check and a $400 gift card from Interactive Achievement as well as a $50 gift card from Kroger.  Runner-ups Tana Thomas of Wasena and Angela Wimberly Montery received a $250 check from WDBJ-TV and gift certificates for a Virginia Dare Cruise.  Congratulations to all the candidates.
Noteworthy Music Festival
It ended on a high note.  Thanks to everyone who came out Saturday to the Noteworthy Music Festival at Patrick Henry High School.  The crowd was treated to a dozen acts; everything from 70's music to country.  More than $1,800 was raised for our elementary music programs.  Since the festival started three years ago, more than $20,000 has been raised for such a worthy cause.
Girls Rock
At Preston Park Elementary, girls just want to have fun and they are.  This year, the school started the Girls Rock Club for 5th graders.  28 girls meet once a week after school.  Part of it is a support group but it is also a chance for them to learn physical health, ways to prevent cyberbullying, and how to prepare for middle school.  The club took part in a career fair that featured women from all over the Roanoke Valley.  The main message to these girls?  Go to college!
The three E's
It is all about etiquette (silverware), ethics (scales), and excellence (trophies) at Jackson Middle.  The school started a new club this year for 8th graders that focuses on manners, character, and excellence.  Nearly a 150 students met once a month after school and it featured team building, guest speakers, workshops about applying for jobs as well as public speaking.  There was even a parent meeting that focused on the transition to high school and the dangers of social media. 
Governor honors Crystal Spring
Congratulations to Crystal Spring Elementary.  The school has received the 2014 Board of Education Excellence Award.  The Virginia Index of Performance (VIP) recognizes schools and divisions that exceed minimum state and federal accountability standards and achieve excellence goals established by the governor and the Board of Education.  Staff and students should be proud!
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. 
Dollars and sense
Twenty-nine of the nation's 100 best high schools for personal finance instruction are in Virginia.  Both Patrick Henry and William Fleming High Schools are on that list!  Working in Support of Education announced the top-100 list at the New York Stock Exchange.  Students in Virginia, who entered 9th grade in 2011, must complete a course in personal finance and economic literacy in order to graduate.
Little Feet Meet POSTPONED
The Little Feet Meet originally scheduled for this Thursday, then moved to Friday, will now take place Monday, May 5.  It will still take place at Northside High School.  This will give the fields plenty of time to dry out.   If you get the chance, please come out and cheer for these Special Olympians.
Boston Strong
Christine Lange ran 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 was a first.  Lange finished an impressive 3:27.  Out of more than 36,000 runners, she placed 8,370.  Congratulations.
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. 
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.
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.
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."
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.
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. 
Surprise!
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:
www.rcps.info
Twitter: @RoanokeSchools
www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityPublicSchools
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.
VOTE HERE FOR FAVORITE SNOW PLOW!
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. 
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.
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.
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Upcoming Events

Today
- Load the Bus for Kids
3:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Tomorrow
- Youth Summit
9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
- Load the Bus for Kids
11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
8/7/2014
- WF Golf
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

  • Load the Bus for Kids

    A big thank you to Walmart for donating several thousand dollars to allow us to buy school supplies for our children.

  • Load the Bus for Kids

    Our principals shopped for supplies. Fairview Assistant Principal Steven Lin has his hands full.

  • Load the Bus for Kids

    Monterey Principal Morgan Johnson, a teacher, and Morningside Principal Ann Kreft loaded up on book bags.

  • Load the Bus for Kids

    Westside Principal Tamika Singletary-Johnson and Madison Principal Whitney Johnson also go for the book bags.

  • Load the Bus for Kids

    Here is a group shot of our volunteers collecting donations at the Valley View Walmart.

  • Load the Bus for Kids

    Here are Superintendent Rita Bishop and Roanoke County Superintendent Lorraine Lange with Valley View Walmart Manager Steve Mason.

  • Load the Bus for Kids

    Wasena Principal Babette Cribbs ran into some of her students at the Clearbrook Walmart.

  • Load the Bus for Kids

    Garden City Principal Jill Lane likes the basics!

  • Load the Bus for Kids

    Preston Park Principal Eric Fisher prefers the erasers.

  • Load the Bus for Kids

    We also received a lot of donations from the public. Thank you to everyone for giving us school supplies.

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