Chesapeake Public Schools Superintendent James T. Roberts touts successes, looks ahead

Chesapeake Public Schools - Raptor Visitor Management

This article originally appeared in The Virginian-Pilot and was written by James T. Roberts. To view the original article, click here.


NORFOLK, VA – Sept. 6 is rapidly approaching, and I hope everyone is as eager as I to start a new school year.

This time every year I am reminded of how unique our division is compared to other school divisions throughout the state.

Our School Board, administrators, teachers and staff are a good team because of our different backgrounds and varied experiences in education, as well as our years of service.

I truly believe we are successful because we have competent and dedicated employees who work together, support one another, and provide high quality education for our students.

I am now in my seventh year as superintendent of Chesapeake Public Schools, and I continue to feel honored to have the opportunity to serve our talented students and staff.

There will always be work to do as we strive to provide a superior education for all our students; however, there are many things that make me proud of this division, and I would like to share a few of our successes from this past year:

– We continued to lead our region with the highest graduation rate and lowest dropout rate.

– Chesapeake topped the Standards of Learning state averages in all five subjects for the 2015-2016 school year.

– Our Project SEARCH program was a resounding success, and we are looking forward to continuing this program in collaboration with Chesapeake Regional Medical Center.

– Chesapeake Public Schools successfully partnered with Tidewater Community College to provide an opportunity for high school students to prepare for in-demand jobs in the exciting and challenging field of mechatronics.

We know we only have a few moments to enjoy the satisfaction of how far we have come in one year before we begin to look forward to the new one. However, the direction of this next year already shows promise for much success.

This year our division is excited to be fully implementing the Chesapeake Preschool Initiative into our regular day programming. This free, all-day program will be taught by Chesapeake teachers and teacher assistants.

School safety is always of the utmost importance, and the division has implemented the Raptor Visitor Management System at each of our school buildings to improve campus safety for students and faculty.

In the area of transportation, all of our school buses will be equipped with Zonar GPS software, which will allow us to track the live location of each bus. Much needed radios are also being installed on all buses. This will allow our transportation department to better communicate with drivers at any given time. The addition of 64 new buses should assist in providing great service to our students.

While we made progress this year in getting some state funds restored to public education, we still have a long way to go. Public education needs to once again be a high priority for the General Assembly in the 2017-2018 budget.

The state funding for the raise promised to our teachers may be cut due to lower state revenues. Teachers, school employees and state employees deserve better than this. Hopefully, the state will find a solution. We will provide the pay increase because it was a promise to our employees, but other budget areas will have to be cut to balance it if a solution is not forthcoming from state leaders.

With summer quickly nearing its end, I would like to personally take this opportunity to welcome back our students, parents and the entire Chesapeake Public Schools family. I am looking forward to a successful 2016-2017 school year as we move forward and keep our focus on student success.

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