Page 1



January-February 2013






Actual Members


Count On Optima Health Optima Health is the progressive choice for business health coverage. We offer innovative plans you can adjust to ďŹ t your budget. You get a large network of physicians and hospitals to choose from. And you get reliable service that can’t be beat. For more information, contact your broker or visit

6W[PTH/LHS[OPZ[OL[YHKLUHTLVM6W[PTH/LHS[O0UZ\YHUJL*VTWHU`6W[PTH/LHS[O7SHUHUK:LU[HYH/LHS[O7SHUZ0UJ(SS6W[PTHWSHUZOH]LILULĂ„[L_JS\ZPVUZHUKSPTP[H[PVUZ and terms under which the policy may be continued in force or discontinued. For costs and complete details of coverage please call your broker or go to

Journey into a mysterious place inhabited by Malayan tigers, orangutans, sun bears, otters, giraffes and much more!


Letter From the Editor headline, 'Obama, Boehner meeting on fiscal cliff'." ~ Barry Cochran, Oregon

For the past thirty eight years Lake Superior State University has developed a list of words to banish for the New Year. Nominations come from all over the United States. Not surprisingly, the phrase “fiscal cliff” received the most nominations for 2013. Here are several reasons why:

Luckily, America avoided falling over the “fiscal cliff” before the end of 2012 and we will no longer have to deal with that phrase for the rest of 2013. But now there is a new phrase, “debt ceiling”. “Fiscal cliff” and “debt ceiling” - can any two phrases be more contradictory?

Overuse: "You can't turn on the news without hearing this. I'm equally worried about the River of Debt and Mountain of Despair." ~ Christopher Loiselle, Michigan

Economics and finance is complicated and often difficult to understand. Furthermore, economic illiteracy is a huge problem in the United States. The Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy tests 12th graders every two years by asking them practical money questions. The students consistently record an average score of 50 to 55 percent, generally considered to be a failing grade. Other research shows that about 3 in 4 workers don't know how much money they need to save for a comfortable retirement. Only about half of respondents in one study were able to correctly answer two simple questions about interest rates and inflation.

General Uselessness: "(We’ve) lost sight of the metaphor and started to think it's a real place, like with the

For this reason Governor Bob McDonnell now requires that Virginia high school students complete one

Misuse: "Tends to be used however the speaker wishes to use it, as in falling off the fiscal cliff, climbing the fiscal cliff, challenged by the fiscal cliff, etc. Just once, I would like to hear it referred to as a financial crisis." ~ Barbara Cliff, Pennsylvania

credit in economics and personal finance before they graduate. But, as you will see in this issue’s cover story, many schools across Virginia are taking that requirement much further, giving students the opportunity to practice and use their new found financial skills. The financial advisor Dave Ramsey once said, “Money is like a beautiful thoroughbred horse - very powerful and always in action. But unless this horse is trained when very young, it will be an out-of-control and dangerous animal when it grows to maturity.” In today’s ever-changing and increasingly competitive financial marketplace, knowledge is power. Rather than being REACTIVE in correcting misuses when it occurs (finding ourselves on the edge of a “fiscal cliff” or needing to increase our “debt ceiling”) it is much better to be PROACTIVE and educate future consumers with the knowledge needed to avoid such crises. Have a very happy and prosperous 2013! Yours in Education,

Editor & Publisher

Guidance Counselors We Love

Virginia Teacher is currently looking for the best guidance counselors in Virginia to be featured in the May/June 2013 cover story. Do you know a special guidance counselor that has made a difference in the lives of the students at your school? Go to to submit his/her nomination.


THE E NEXT NEXT BEST BEST THING TO THING TO NG HERE. HERE. BEING The Chrysler Museum of Art can come to you with SOL-based presentations on:    

1 #/*-( $%(  1 (2.!(!,)"+! !!!( )'!  1 %,-)+/( %!(!)"&,, 1 ,)"+-+! 

Classroom presentations are free and can be customized for each class or school. )(--.-$($!0-     )++,,($!0$+/,&!+)+# #-),$! .&!


Fort Wool Miss Hampton II Harbor Tours


Explored H E R E FOR OVER 400 YEARS. COME HAVE AN ADVENTURE. Contact Bruce Newton at 800.487.8778



Contributors KENITA D. BOWERS Kenita Bowers joined Isle of Wight County Schools as the Coordinator for Community Affairs & Media Relations in 2012. Her responsibilities include designing and editing publications, managing the division’s website, coordinating the division’s community outreach efforts, acting as a liaison for the Education Foundation for Isle of Wight County Schools and organizing community forums and special events to include the Teacher of the Year Awards Banquet, the Isle of Wight Achievers Program and Convocation. Prior to joining the school division, she was the Community Affairs Media Coordinator and Producer for WAVY-TV 10/WVBT FOX43. Her community involvement includes serving on the Board of Directors for Communities in Schools of Hampton Roads and the Virginia Housing and Community Development Corporation as well as working with organizations such as The March of Dimes and the YWCA of Southampton Roads. Kenita is a Norfolk native, a graduate of both Hampton University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Media and Norfolk State University where she earned a Master’s Degree in Public Relations. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, inc. and an Adjunct Professor at Hampton University’s Scripps Howard School of Journalism. In her spare time, Kenita enjoys creative writing, shopping, traveling and spending time with 6-year-old daughter Koi. BUD LIVERS, PH.D. Bud is the Emerging Technologies Coordinator for a Navy Command in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and is a Senior Faculty member at the Cambridge College Regional Center in Chesapeake, Virginia, in the M.Ed., Special Education program. He taught students with an emotional disturbance at a regional public day school, and was an Assistant Professor of Teacher Education at Chowan University in North Carolina. He headed the Jails Education Program in Virginia Beach, Virginia, tasked with providing special education services for incarcerated youth and young adults. Bud received his Ph.D. in Educational Planning, Policy, and Leadership, with emphasis in Special Education Administration from The College of William & Mary, in Williamsburg, Virginia. DAN SUMMERS


Dan Summers is the School Education Curator at the Virginia Living Museum, and has been a member of the museum’s education department for over 16 years. His current responsibilities include the administration and supervision of the museum’s classroom and field education programs for grades K–12, and the coordination and presentation of teacher training programs and adult education workshops. Dan holds an undergraduate degree in history and a graduate degree in environmental studies. He began his career in education more than 24 years ago as a middle school teacher.

Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Dory Suttmiller Production, Design and Distribution Breeger Media Group Writers Kenita D. Bowers Brandy Centolanza Bud Livers, PH.D. Dan Summers Mervyn Wighting Mission Statement The mission of Virginia Teacher Magazine is to inform and inspire educators in Virginia by providing current and relevant information on career development, educational enrichment and personal growth. Disclaimer The views and opinions of writers and contributors that appear in Virginia Teacher Magazine do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Virginia Teacher Magazine’s publisher, editor, staff and affiliates. The information in Virginia Teacher Magazine is provided as a service to the readers of Virginia Teacher Magazine for information purposes only. Virginia Teacher Magazine is not responsible for problems arising out of reference to the included material. Information on a commercial product or service does not imply an endorsement by Virginia Teacher Magazine. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. All photographs are property of and credited to Virginia Teacher Magazine, unless otherwise noted. Advertise To advertise or to obtain a current rate card call 757-620-2631 or email at Editorial Submissions Virginia Teacher Magazine accepts news releases from credited organization. Submit material for editorial consideration to Extra Copies For extra copies call 757-620-2631 Virginia Teacher Magazine 325 Flax Mill Way Chesapeake, VA 23322 Phone 757-620-2631 Fax 757-410-0783 Web

Table of Contents Economics of a Diploma


Learn how students across Virginia are tackling the complexity of economics and personal finance in order to become effective consumers, workers, savers, investors, entrepreneurs and citizens.

Old School vs. New School


Isle of Wight County schools recently made headlines after distributing iPads to every high school student!

Beyond the Classroom


Dan Summers, School Education Curator with the Virginia Living Museum, shares how to get the most “profit” from your field trip “investment”.

Class Reunion


Jeff Leftwich, Hampton Roads Academy, Class of 1992

At Planned Parenthood, we are here for young people to address all of their concerns about reproductive health. Call us today to make an appointment for you or a young person you know! ow! W We e provide comprehensive sex education to everyone who walks through our door door.. T Text ext e ppsev to 97063 for updates! 757-499-PLAN


Find Us Online... At the click of a mouse, you will have access to one of Virginia’s most powerful resource for educators... Granby High School has established the first student-run credit union in Norfolk Public Schools (story on page 8).

Join the conversation! "Like" Virginia Teacher on

and follow us on





How Virginia Schools are Meeting the Economics and Personal Finance SOL.

By: Bud Livers “In our time, the curse is monetary illiteracy, just as inability to read plain print was the curse of earlier centuries.” – Ezra Pound Over the past several years, the Virginia Council on Economics Education (VCEE) has made it their mission to overcome this “monetary illiterate curse”. The organization is the proponent for the economics education movement going on right now within Virginia public schools. The VCEE notes that whether as an individual, business manager, or policy maker, an understanding of basic economic principles teaches us to better analyze choices. An economically and financially literate citizenry is critical to the success and well-being of our nation. Economic and financial literacy will prepare students to become: ■ informed consumers ■ productive employees ■ innovative entrepreneurs ■ prudent savers and investors ■ effective participants in the global economy ■ reasoned voters ■ effective decision makers

HISTORY OF ECONOMICS EDUCATION IN VIRGINIA In 2005, the Virginia Board of Education developed objectives for economics education and financial literacy in grades six through 12.


Additionally, these principles were to be infused in the SOL, but were not initially required to be in the SOL assessments. The objectives included, among other things, such wide-ranging topics as: personal living and finances; money management skills; maintaining a bank account; balancing a checkbook; completing a loan application; understanding inheritance; insurance policies; consumer rights and responsibilities; dealing with salesmen and merchants; debt management; credit card debt; taxes; interest rates, and how to contest an incorrect bill.

■ the global economy ■ consumer skills ■ planning for living and leisure expenses ■ banking transactions ■ credit and loan functions ■ the role of insurance in risk management ■ income earning and reporting ■ taxes ■ personal financial planning ■ investment and savings planning

While the EPF curriculum is designed to be primarily taught in high school, personal finance and economics topics are introduced in kindergarten and spiral throughout the history and social science In 2009, the Economics and curriculum through eighth grade. Personal Finance SOL were Although these requirements are approved. Under these standards, Virginia Students will be required to now a part of the Virginia Standards of Learning, there are no plans to demonstrate knowledge of: ■ basic economic concepts and have an SOL test on Economics and structures Personal Finance. ■ the role of producers and ACCEPTING THE CHALLENGE consumers in a market In early 2012, Gov. Bob McDonnell economy ■ the price system announced the first Governor’s ■ the many factors that affect Challenge in Economics and income Personal Finance to promote new ■ a nation’s economic goals economics and personal finance ■ the nation’s financial system courses for high school students. ■ how monetary policy influence This challenge is part of the Virginia employment, output, and High School Initiative designed to prices support teachers and school ■ the role of government in a divisions with implementation of market economy the new high school course.

An economically and financially literate citizenry is critical to the success and well-being of our nation.

In teams of four, high school students from around the Commonwealth were encouraged to participate in an online challenge during the spring semester. Finalist teams were invited to participate in a live championship challenge held at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond in April. The competition was quiz bowl style for economics and case style presentation for personal finance. Topics ranged from the European debt crisis, budget deficits, trade, investment choice tradeoffs and comparative advantage.

seniors, Southampton presented the only team made up entirely of 9th graders.

use in the classroom. For more information on these workshops, go to


There is even a website designed to help Virginia’s high school teachers share and find quality resources that they can use in teaching Virginia’s new economics and personal finance course. Using various pull-down menus, teachers can find lesson plans, speakers,

For this year’s competition, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Fairfax County, took top honors, followed closely by Southampton High School, Southampton County. The secondplace finishers were all the more amazing in that, while most teams were made up of juniors and

VCEE and affiliated centers for economic education, in collaboration with many in the public and private sectors, are providing teachers professional development opportunities to help enhance their understanding of these SOL and provide them quality resources, including creative lesson plans to

The VCEE not only supports the development of the new standards, but offers help in teaching them as well.

“Students need a strong foundation in economics and personal finance to function effectively as consumers, workers, savers, investors, entrepreneurs, and active citizens." videos, simulations, and other resources to help them get a particular concept across to their students. Check out this resource at

JUMP$TART YOUR EPF PROGRAM Other organizations exist to promote financial literacy committed to

Educational Programs

Christmas Town

Add a twist to learning with one of our interactive educational programs. Explore the science of roller coasters with Launch into Physics. They’ll have so much fun, they’ll forget they’re learning.

Nov. 22 - Dec 31, 2013 Explore the winter wonders of Christmas Town. Take in dazzling shows, stroll beneath the glow of six million twinkling lights and visit Santa’s bustling workshop.

Class Trips Give your group a fun mix of world-class coasters, up-close animal encounters, shows and more. Brave Verbolten on a daring, twisting and turning ride through the Black Forest. ®

For group savings, call (800) 343-7946 or visit Discount rates available for groups of 15 or more students. Please book 30 days prior to arrival. Christmas Town is a separate ticketed event and is not included with pass membership or Here’s To The Heroes. Restrictions apply. © 2013 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved.




Teacher's participate in VCEE's Personal Finance Institute improving the financial literacy of America’s youth. One such outfit, the Virginia Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, provides scholarships for teachers to attend regional and national training summits. Additionally, their extensive speaker’s bureau can provide speaks with expertise in varied areas, specifically tailored to meet your classroom instructional needs. For more information, visit their website at Not to be outdone in providing assistance to teachers, the Virginia Department of Education website is loaded with all manner of teacher resources to help with the EPF SOL, including resources for instruction, professional development and webinars. You can find a variety of games, lesson plans, instructional videos and publications to support in-class instruction. For more information about these resources, Check it out on the web at “http://www.doe.v” and search “Economics and Personal Finance”


The Virginia Department of Education Website provides specific guidelines for setting up your own Banking-at-School Partnership Programs.

Granby High School in Norfolk has developed a unique approach to supporting the goals of the Economics and Personal Finance curriculum. Their EPF course is TAKE ONLINE AND GRADUATE designed to meet the needs of their ON TIME newly established Comet Branch Another delivery method recently Credit Union while also earning the developed for Virginia Students is required credit for graduation. an online option. The Virginia Department of Education, with As the Comet Branch Credit Union support from Virginia 529 and the is student-run, students in NPS Virginia Bankers Association Pre-IB, honors/AP courses (and by Education Foundation, has teacher recommendation) may feel developed an Economics and more comfortable with the subject Personal Finance course that can be matter and work requirements. delivered as an online, face-to-face, Granby’s Career and Technical or blended course. Education Department has estab■ The course is structured as 160 lished the first student-run credit modules of rich instructional union in Norfolk Public Schools. content NPS is one of the very few school ■ Each module is intended for districts in the world offering this an average class time of 45 experience, along with the benefits minutes from Introduction to of membership in a credit union. the Comprehension Check The Comet Branch Credit Union is ■ Students proceed at their own located inside Granby’s school pace store and is linked directly to the Economics classroom. This is a real, This course is aligned with the functioning credit union with many Virginia Standards of Learning and of the financial benefits and fulfills the one-credit course services a person may need requirement in Economics and throughout their life, including: Personal Finance. School divisions Share Savings, Checking, ATM & Visa may choose to facilitate the course check cards, and it is still growing. with a locally assigned teacher

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology came out on top as winners of the Adam Smith division (economics) with Dr. David Urban (far right) of VCU School of Business as quiz master.

within Virtual Virginia’s learning management system at no cost. Virtual Virginia will provide training for division teachers in August.

WORDS FROM RICHMOND… As stated in preface to the Economics and Personal Finance Standards of Learning, “Students need a strong foundation in economics and personal finance to function effectively as consumers, workers, savers, investors, entrepreneurs, and active citizens. The SOL Economics and Personal Finance present economic concepts that help students interpret the daily news, understand how interdependent the world’s economies are, and anticipate how events will impact their lives. Students learn that their own knowledge and skills are their most valuable resource and that investing in education and training improves the likelihood of their future economic success.” What about you? Think you might like to get endorsed to teach the EPF curriculum? Licensed teachers in the following areas with specific endorsements to may be eligible to teach a course in Economics and Personal Finance: ■ Agricultural Education ■ Business and Information Technology ■ Family and Consumer Sciences ■ History and Social Science ■ Marketing ■ Mathematics Check out the Virginia Department of Education website to see which specific endorsement codes are eligible to teach EPF classes. You may be one of them. VT



Old School vs. New School


for iWight

By: Mervyn Wighting and Kenita Bowers

Isle of Wight County schools recently made headlines after distributing iPads to approximately 2, 000 high school students as part of the isle-21 Program. isle-21 or the Initiative for Student Learning and Engagement in the 21st century, is a program set to create a cutting edge instructional environment that fosters engagement and interactive learning for students. The iPad initiative is one key component of the isle-21 program with three main goals: 1. To expand the realm of education far beyond the conventional classroom. 2. To encourage students to learn collaboratively and collectively on a global scale 3. To prepare students for college, career and citizenship in the 21st century While there are several school divisions in Virginia and across the


country that have launched similar iPad programs for students, this innovation is a huge phenomenon for members of the rural area of Isle of Wight County. One may wonder how a relatively small school district with only 9 schools and 5, 500 students – some of which come from modest income backgrounds, could afford this opportunity. In fiscal year 2012, IWCS allocated 68% of its budget to Instruction and from the Instruction budget $672, 000 was earmarked for the cost of textbooks. With the support of all 5 School Board members, the decision was made to level the “learning” field for all students by using “textbook” funding to purchase this powerful tool. Providing the students with iPads is not only a cost savings measure for the division over the longer term, but more importantly it is a way to allow all students to have an equal opportunity for education.

The planning process began in the spring of last year after approval was given to use textbook monies. The Administrative team agreed upon a 3year lease with Apple and began exploring the best ways to distribute the iPads. In October, Teachers received their iPads ahead of the students to ensure that they would be well prepared for the changes in the classroom. Apple provided a weeklong training workshop for Administrators, Teachers and the IT Department where everyone was given hands-on coaching. The training sessions included an overview of how to operate the iPad, apps and features that were commonly used in education and tips for managing their use in the classroom. Once the training was complete, the next step was to gather

“The iPads are awesome! It’s easy to look things up and it’s easy to get our assignments in on time.” – Billy Smith, Smithfield High School student. “It’s a great opportunity to have information at your fingertips! It helps to intensify the knowledge that you learn.” – Logan Hasty, Windsor High School student.

“I try not to Xerox any worksheets, I now post them on my website instead that way the students can use their iPads to obtain the worksheets and save them in the app. Saving the worksheet into the app means they do not need the internet to access the worksheet once they leave school so they can complete the work in the app or just use the iPad to view the worksheet and complete the work on paper.” – Smithfield High School Math Teacher, Tina Wallner. a of group students to pilot the program. These students, known as “isle guides”, were given the opportunity to receive their iPad before their peers in order to test them out and become subject matter experts for their schools. The isle guides allowed Administrators to get a preview of exactly how the iPads would be received and used by the students. It also allowed the IT Department a chance to work out any technical issues prior to full distribution.

questions about the process, review a user agreement with their child and have hands-on time with iPads. After each Parent attended an iPad session and submitted the required permission forms, their child was able to receive an iPad. iPad distribution took place in early November and was an exciting time for the students. Upon receiving their iPad, each student was also required to attend a Digital Citizenship session to remind them of the importance of Internet safety and security.

The success of the isle guides pilot showed the division that things were ready to move forward. Parent meetings were conducted in late October to inform Parents of what to expect and how to remain actively involved in their children’s education. Parents were also able to ask

The isle 21 Program and iPad Initiative are proving to be a huge success for the division so far. IWCS recognizes the need to prepare students for the digital age and incorporating technology is a huge part of that. This program will become the bridge between traditional education and the technologically advanced world that students live in. Today’s generation is accustomed to a digital learning environment and the delivery of education has to adapt to how students learn. Not only is this the direction that Virginia is moving in, but also the outside world… Isle of Wight County schools will remain ahead of the curve while continuing to provide educational excellence. VT

EDUCATIONAL AND UNIQUE FIELD TRIPS ON THE WATER. Give your students the most fun and informative SOL-Compliant field trip in the city. With Spirit of Norfolk’s inclusive student packages, they’ll enjoy dining, an interactive Emcee, up-close waterfront views and more.

Call to customize your 2013 field trip. 866.445.9283



Beyond the Classroom

GETTING THE MOST “PROFIT” from Your Field Trip “Investment”

by Dan Summers, school education coordinator at the Virginia Living Museum As a former public middle school teacher and current school programs manager at the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News, I have a respectful understanding for the how much time, effort, planning, paperwork, coordination and cost can be involved with getting a group of energetic students to and from any off-site learning experience. That’s one of the reasons why I have such great admiration for teachers who continue to engage with the challenges of arranging and completing a successful field trip for their students.

The Key to Field Trip Success: Be a Smart “Investor” that all teachers hope to get out of Because the time, effort, planning etc. that goes into any field trip can be considered an “investment,” a wise investor (the teacher) should be looking to maximize the eventual “profit” from that investment. The connection between these financial terms and field trips is this: each year I see hundreds of teachers visit the Virginia Living Museum, and know that time, energy and resources have been spent to get their students here. But for many, I don’t see the evidence that they have done all they could to get the largest possible benefit (“profit”) for themselves, or most importantly – for their students.

a field trip. Even if you’ve visited the VLM before with students or as the “general public,” if you haven’t considered these suggestions, you may not be getting the most out of your trip.

Below are a few suggestions that will help to maximize the benefits

■ Visit as a teacher – not with your family or out-of -town guests.


1. Get to really know your field trip site Even if you’ve visited before, take the time to re-visit and critically examine how the various learning opportunities found throughout the site can best support your instruction goals. Here’s how we encourage teachers to get the most effective results from their VLM visit. The same strategies can be applied to any other field trip site.

You’ll want to be focused on a future visit with your students – not on entertaining Uncle Billy or your own children. This “teacher visit” may only be possible during your personal time, but find out if your administration will support field trip checkouts and development time during non-teaching work or professional days. ■ Inquire about complimentary or reduced admissions for teachers. The VLM and other museums will often accommodate a teacher’s request for “complimentary admission” for a check-out before a field trip when current teacher ID is presented. Call ahead for information, and ask for the education director or an assistant

if the information desk isn’t sure of the current policy. ■ The VLM encourages teachers to visit with other teachers from your team, grade level or department; share instruction ideas and fine-tune logistics. ■ While you are checking out the VLM indoor and outdoor exhibits, take lots of photos (inquire about photo policy at all institutions) and/or notes that will help you to match the variety of learning opportunities within the Museum exhibits to your specific curriculum and SOLs.

2. Create your own “Field Trip Focus Guide” for your students to use when they visit This part is extremely important – and it’s the primary reason you’ve “invested” time to visit the field trip site before your students ever get off the bus. A “Focus Guide” (or whatever you choose to call it) is your specialized

Great things happen when teachers become students.

Research on student achievement continues to demonstrate that the most effective classroom teachers are those that continue their education. The School of Professional and Continuing Studies supports beginning and career teachers and administrators by providing high quality professional education courses to: • Address initial licensure requirements • Satisfy license renewal regulations • Enhance your professional skills • Collaborate with your colleagues Choose from a variety of course offerings and class formats to best meet you professional development needs. • In-class and Online Coursework • Week-long Summer Institutes • Graduate Degrees

• Endorsements • Reduced Rate Tuition • Innovative Topics and Programs VIRGINIA TEACHER MAGAZINE |JANUARY • FEBRUARY 2013


version of the “exhibit guide” that the Virginia Living Museum and many other museums and field trip sites provide for students. While the VLM exhibit guide these offers a basic level of support for grades K-12 instruction goals, no generic museum exhibit guide can connect with your students more effectively than the product of your own research, thought and experience. A Focus Guide developed by you (or together with fellow teachers) provides the following significant advantages: ■ It can coordinate the time of year for your field trip, the VLM’s specific learning opportunities, and the sequence of your instruction. A teacher-developed Focus Guide will ensure that


your students connect with the information and experiences that best support your specific instruction objectives at the time of year these connections are the most valuable. ■ It will reflect your style of instruction – how you ask your questions, how you communicate expectations for engaging in observations, measurements, predictions, problem solving, etc. ■ It provides important opportunities for students to work and produce results as teams. ■ It helps improve students’ behavior. Your expectations and learning goals emphasized by the Focus Guides in their hands

helps them understand they are “on a mission” vs. “free-floating.” In addition, it helps chaperones understand your goals and expectations – and gives them a tool to help maintain a “productive structure” with their assigned groups. ■ It will provide a tangible bridge between your pre-visit instruction and your post-visit review and integration. When students return to your classroom with results based on your specific requirements, and if these products are used to support continued instruction, it helps them understand that their VLM field trip experience was part of the “big picture” of their education – and not just a “day out of school.”

â– Also importantly, by coordinating with other core-area instructors, your Focus Guide can provide plenty of opportunity for interdisciplinary connections – science, language arts, math, social studies, and the arts are everywhere. Your fellow teachers will likely appreciate your invitation for input. And so will your administration, which can help pave the way for a successful VLM field trip experience. You want the best for your students – that’s why you work so hard to get them to get them out on field trips. So to maximize the profit from your field trip to the VLM as well as other off-site educational institutions ‌ invest the time to pre-visit the museum, and develop your own “Focus Guidesâ€? for your students. Your efforts will definitely pay off.

s a w s u c i t u a N o t “Going          




, real -life Battleship! S U O G N O M U H a I went on robot! I built an underwater wn the river! I piloted a tugboat do g fossil! I TOUCHED a livin on a HUGE screen! e

I saw an awesome movi

On the Downtown Norfolk Waterfront

One W Waterside aterside Driv Drive, e, Norfolk, Norfolk, VA VA 23510 23510 | (80 (800) 0) 664-1 664-1080 080 | reser

Want more information? The Virginia Living Museum is located at 524 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Newport News. SOL-correlated programs and labs in the natural and space sciences are taught by professional educators. Self-guided visits are also available. For information and reservations, visit or call 757-595-9135. VT



Class Reunion


By:Brandy Centolanza

Jeff Leftwich Sessoms, Jr.

MAYOR OF VIRGINIA BEACH What was your favorite class or subject and why? History, specifically military history. History offers us an evidential baseline we can use to analyze how societies, morals and beliefs are formed. Growing up in Williamsburg, history had always been natural to me, and I’ve been captivated ever since. Which teacher had a great influence on you? No surprise, it was my history teacher, who also happened to be my Spanish teacher and baseball coach. His name was Colonel E.S. Tyler and he was my first mentor, though I didn’t know it at the time. Of course, he instructed us in Spanish, and how to hit a curve ball. But, his passion was history, specifically the Civil War. I loved to listen to him teach, hearing his passion of the subject and the gratitude to those who cultivated our nation. He instilled in us the desire to help those who can’t help themselves and to be passionate about becoming something greater than ourselves. How would you describe yourself as a student? Diligent; one problem at a time, quality over quantity. What one thing did you learn in school that served you well post-graduation? Make your voice heard, have confidence in your decision and stand by your word.


What motivated you to start your own business, Williamsburg Pet Loss? My brother lost his best friend, Zipper, and his option to cremate brought less than confidence in the current facilities. To witness the internal strife he endured over the decision to trust a cremation company with Zipper’s remains was excruciating. No person should be forced to trust their pets with an out of town monopoly. All pet parents should have a choice in who handles the remains of their pets. My brother lacked trust in the current options presented to him. At that time I made a promise to him that I would give everyone in Williamsburg their own choice and freedom to trust.. How did you decide on this type of business? I gave 20 years of military service in support of our country and the United States Air Force. It was time

to come home and give back to my home community. My home town of Williamsburg deserves peaceful reassurance, and our only goal at Williamsburg Pet Loss is to provide closure and honor to pets and their parents, family members and their owners. What advice do you offer current students/the next generation? From a generational perspective, fine tune your communication skills to fit both traditional and electronic interaction. Be prideful of your generation, and use your familiarity of technology and information wisely. What advice do you offer for those looking to start their own business? Opening a business is essentially the materialization of your ideas. Believe in yourself. You may encounter naysayers, but allow those moments to fuel your passion. Never compromise your values, stay disciplined, and always maintain an optimistic attitude. Most importantly, start your business for the right reasons; if it’s to help others you can’t go wrong. VT BIOGRAPHY: Jeff Leftwich is a native of Williamsburg and graduated from Hampton Roads Academy. Jeff and his wife, Autumn, are owners and operators of Williamsburg Pet Loss, a local business that offers compassionate private pet cremation services to families. He is a father of four.

AWhole World of Imagination Opens BeforeTheirEyes.

221 High Street, Olde Towne Group Rates Available | Phone: 757-393-5258 Group & Education Program details at

January 19, 2013 African-American Heritage Day

January 19 – May 12 TINKERTOY® Build Your Imagination™

February 23, 2013 Chinese New Year Celebration



EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION Envision your path to effective school leadership. Prepare for licensure eligibility in K-12 administration and supervision through the master’s degree, postmaster’s certificate, or education specialist degree. Pursue your Ed.D. in Educational Administration and Policy Studies. Learn research methodology and produce an original scholarly dissertation. Doctoral cohorts meet one weekend a month in Newport News, beginning each spring. For a list of all GW graduate programs, visit


More Information 757-249-3522

Virginia Teacher January - February 2013  

Inside this Issue: Economics of a Diploma iPads for iWight The Key to Field Trip Success

Virginia Teacher January - February 2013  

Inside this Issue: Economics of a Diploma iPads for iWight The Key to Field Trip Success