Petersburg Superintendent to Teachers and Community: “This is Our Time.”

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Today city and state leaders were on hand for Petersburg’s annual Convocation, and change was the focus.

“One, two, three. It is our time! Woo hoo,” Superintendent Dr. Joseph Melvin announces that this is the year for the school system to move forward.

A.P. Hill Elementary and Peabody have a lengthy history of SOL test score struggles, so the district is now taking them in a new direction. Year-round schooling began on August 4, and 2,000 people showed their excitement at a rally last month.

“We have to keep that momentum going,” says Dr. Melvin. “Success is a priority, educating students and equipping them with the proper tools to compete in today’s world is the key.”

Dr. Melvin says healthy meals are tools to help students achieve success. Hunger has been an issue across the district, so this year every student will receive free breakfasts and free lunches, regardless of income.

Virginia Secretary of Education Anne Holton was instrumental in bringing the free meal program to Petersburg and continues to work with the schools on teacher retention, a strong curriculum and community support. “It is an ongoing process of learning what works and what works in different environments,” Holton says, citing a recent study.

Dr. Melvin adds that this year teachers received an 8% raise, while everyone else in the district saw a 5% boost. He says it is one way the school system is working to maintain the best possible staff to reach goals. “Excellence in the classroom, excellence in customer service, excellence in communicating with the public, and those are just a few areas we have to excel.”

Petersburg School shared other updates at today’s Convocation:  SOL preliminary scores indicate that Petersburg High School will move from accredited with warning to full accreditation this year.  A.P. Hill Elementary has met all Federal Annual Measurable Objectives this year in English and Math.  The on-time graduation rate at Petersburg High has increased by 5% in one year, from 77 to 82%. 

Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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