Newsletter 2023 Issue 2
Gina G. Patterson
Executive Director
From the Executive Director
February is School Board Appreciation Month in Virginia, and a great opportunity to celebrate the hundreds of school board members throughout the Commonwealth committed to maximizing student achievement and advocating effectively for Virginia’s public schools and children. This year, our theme, “Rising to the Challenge” provides a window to reflect on 117-years of support of public education. As a voluntary, nonpartisan organization, it is an honor to hold tight to our mission and reap the positive results of promoting excellence through leadership, services, and advocacy. 

We salute our members for Rising to the Challenge every day. School board service has become increasingly difficult as members must face tough decisions head-on amid differing opinions that seem to become more divided every day. Disinformation and criticism grow louder and more distracting by the minute. The challenges of advocating to serve the best interest of all public school children are often amplified by the headlines and soundbites that polarize our nation. At times the battle may feel chaotic and uphill, but for more than a century our members have demonstrated, without wavering, that we are indeed better together, and our students are worth the fight. Our local, state, and federal advocacy efforts have ensured that local divisions, both rural suburban and urban, are heard, felt, and seen. Over the last 100 years, our society has become more and more complex. The solutions to the challenges we face as an association and as individual school boards have grown just as complicated, with bitter divides over who’s right and who’s wrong. Yet it’s you, the members of VSBA, who continue to show up and unify behind the premise that all public school students deserve access to a high quality education and that local school boards are in the best position to solve local challenges. As we remain unified by our common threads, we allow our collective voices to grow more impactful and influential to meet the needs of our diverse membership.

Your commitment and dedication are commendable and deserve gratitude and applause. As innovative leaders in public education, when our members rise together above the storms and turbulence and remain focused on positive outcomes for all students, not only does VSBA succeed and excel, but our children, families, workforce, and communities thrive. 

Rising to the Challenge means we serve as a reliable anchor within our communities, and pride ourselves in being a relentless group of leaders, advocates, and public servants driven by the call to excellence in public education. Thank you for all that you do. As you continue to celebrate the achievements of all school boards throughout the Commonwealth, be sure to amplify the support of local school board members who are living testaments of what advocacy looks like in action. 

 As always, continue to rise. 

What is COSSBA?
Founded by state school boards associations in late 2021, the Consortium of State School Boards Associations (COSSBA) is a non-partisan, national alliance dedicated to sharing resources and information to support, promote and strengthen state school boards associations as they serve their local school districts and board members.

COSSBA is voluntary, non-partisan federation of state school boards associations focused on:

  • Support for the work of state school boards associations through effective staff collaboration, networking, and shared resources

  • Networking opportunities for local school board members and association board members to enhance the effectiveness of their work

  • Tracking and advocating for federal education issues and policies impacting local school boards and public education aligned with a statement of core values and beliefs of COSSBA

  • Federal judicial advocacy impacting local control and public education

To learn more, visit
Getting to Know the VSBA: Check Out this Video to Learn More
2023 VSBA Capital Conference Recap
On January30, the Virginia School Boards Association kicked off the two-day 2023 Capital Conference at the Downtown Richmond Marriott. Attendees heard from subject matter experts on topics including the ever-changing political scene in Virginia, state budget issues, and legislation being considered that will have an impact on public education and school board operations, and the importance of year-round advocacy. Participating school board members were provided with a tool kit containing information on setting up an efficient and productive meeting with their legislators that were scheduled for day two of the conference. To see more photos from the conference, view the Capital Conference Flickr album here.
J.T. Kessler
Director of Legislative Services
House and Senate Committees Unveil Budget Amendments
The House Appropriations Committee and Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee released their proposed state budgets on February 5. Information on the House budget proposal, including video of the meeting, can be found here. Specific details of the House budget related to education can be found here. Information on the Senate budget proposal can be found here. Specific details of the Senate proposal related to education can be found here. A comparison of key provisions of the two spending plans can be found below.

Instruction and Support Staff Funding
House Budget
  • Not Included
  • $44.7m: for reading specialists Grades 4-8
  • $3m: temporary instructional aides

Senate Budget
  • $271m: Fully lifts support cap
  • $58m: for reading specialists Grades 4-8
  • $57m: mental/physical health staff; $24m: English learner teachers; $39m: instruction aides
Grocery Tax Calculation Tool
House Budget
  • $5m: to make divisions whole compared to June calculated estimates*

Senate Budget
  • $58m: hold harmless for mistakes, Senate budget already calculated error
*Based on the amount of direct aid divisions were told to expect based on VDOE's December calculation tool.
Lab Schools, School Security and School Construction
House Budget
  • $21.5m: school security grants and resource officer incentive funds
  • $50m: additional $ and language to expand lab schools
  • Not Included

Senate Budget
  • $52m: school security grants and resource officer incentive fund
  • Not Included
  • Authorizes all counties and cities to impose an additional local sales and use tax at a rate not to exceed one percent with the revenue used only for capital projects for the construction or renovation of schools if such levy is approved in a voter referendum.
Employee Compensation
House Budget
  • $110m: additional 2% salary increase for state supported teachers/staff next year
  • $10m: recruitment bonuses for hard-to-fill positions/schools
  • Not included

Senate Budget
  • $117m: additional 2% salary increase for all state supported teachers/staff next year
  • $150m: $1K bonus for state supported staff + $10m recruitment bonus retained
  • $9m: triples state stipend for rigorous National Board Certification educators to $7,500
To view the entire package of House and Senate budget amendments, click here.
The VSBA Government Relations team provides daily updates on committee hearings and floor proceedings during session on the VSBA Legislative Update Blog. Please click here to access the blog and check back often during session.

In the next newsletter, we will provide a detailed overview of key pieces of legislation passed and defeated during the 2023 session. If you have any questions regarding legislation and the happenings at the Virginia General Assembly, please contact me at [email protected].
VSBA Federal Relations Committee 2023 Advocacy Institute
On February 6-7, members of the Virginia School Boards Association Federal Relations Committee (FRC) participated in the 2023 VSBA Advocacy Institute in Washington, D.C. The two-day event was kicked off with opening remarks from FRC Chair Dr. James Coleman (Lynchburg City). Members of the committee also participated in sessions dealing with federal legislation, the current political environment in D.C., and advocacy strategies from VSBA Director of Legislative Services, J.T. Kessler, and George Mason University Political Science professor, Dr. David Rehr. These sessions helped prepare members for their day on The Hill.

On day two of the institute, FRC members met with the Education Policy team from Senator Mark Warner and Senator Tim Kaine’s office. Additionally, FRC members had plentiful discussions on issues related to education at the Federal Level with Virginia’s Congressional Leaders. Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-3), Congressmen Ben Cline (VA-6), and Congressman Morgan Griffith (VA-9) joined committee members to solicit feedback from participants. Additional meetings with key congressional staff from each delegation offices were held throughout the day.

It is the goal of FRC Chair Coleman to reconvene members of the committee throughout the year in order to further the advocacy that was done during the institute.
Virginia School Board Member Attends State of the Union address
Washington County School Board member, J. Sanders Henderson, III was invited by Congressman Morgan Griffith (R - 9th District) to attend President Joe Biden's State of the Union address on Tuesday, February 7, 2023. In a statement issued by Griffith's office, Henderson accepted the invitation:

"Thank you to Congressman Griffith for inviting me to attend the State of the Union Address," Henderson said in the prepared statement. "I am very honored to represent the Ninth Congressional District on the Federal Relations Committee of the Virginia School Board Association. I look forward to discussing educational issues on the federal level with Congressman Griffith on Tuesday. I appreciate his support of public pre-K-12 education in Southwest Virginia and across the Commonwealth."

A 30-year veteran of the Virginia public school system, Henderson has taught and coached in Carroll, Smyth, and Tazewell Counties. He most recently was the principal of Chilhowie Elementary School before retiring. Griffith said Henderson taught at Richlands High School for 16 years, serving as athletic director for three years, and was an assistant on the Blue Tornados' state championship team in 1992.
--Article content courtesy of Charles Owens, Bluefield Daily Telegraph, W.Va.
2023 School Board Appreciation Month
Celebrations Around the Commonwealth
School Boards all across the Commonwealth were honored for "Rising to the Challenge" this month in celebration of VSBA School Board Appreciation Month. To see more pictures, visit the 2023 School Board Appreciation Month flickr album.

Also, check out these great School Board Appreciation Month Videos:

If you have photos or videos of your board's celebration that you'd like to share, please email them to [email protected] with the subject line "2023 School Board Appreciation Month".
Pictured (L-R): Liam Blackwell, Matt Moore, Morgan Graham, Gavin Rickman, Alex Williams, Bryce Miller, Tyler Bales, Ellis Hammonds

Eight LCPS students have been working with Secure Solar Features this semester on the Throwing Solar Shade Project. These students have researched the Effect of Placement Surface on Panel Temperature. The students presented their research at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond, VA. Mr. Jonathan Mullins, Mrs. Tonya Kennedy, Mrs. Jill Graham, and Mr. Mark Long supported the students on this project.
In each newsletter, VSBA will spotlight a recent initiative or best practice taking place in a school division in Virginia. If you have a story you would like to submit for inclusion in the spotlight section of the VSBA newsletter, please email it to [email protected] with the subject: Division Spotlight and your school division's name. Pictures and a link to the story on your division/school's website should also be included with the submission.
March is VSBA Students and Schools in Challenging Environments Month!
In an effort to increase awareness of and support for each and every student in Virginia, the VSBA Board of Directors has designated the month of March as VSBA Students and Schools in Challenging Environments Month.
The VSBA Task Force on Students and Schools in Challenging Environments was established by the Board of Directors in 2013 to educate state and local policy makers how VSBA can partner to help challenged students and schools in Virginia, and to identify and share research, resources, and strategies that will empower Virginia’s schools to reach higher levels of student achievement. As a result of listening to board members and superintendents, interacting with parents and students, conducting extensive data analyses, and engaging with public and private sector leaders, the Task Force determined that every school division in Virginia serves students who can benefit from this month-long focus combined with year-round action.
Through the release of three reports over the past decade, the task force has played a key role in providing federal, state, and local school boards with best practices for implementation on educating students in challenged schools and students who may face unique challenges with them no matter the school they attend. We must work together to ensure that all students no matter their zip code, area of the state in which they reside, or size of their school division receive the supports necessary to achieve positive academic outcomes. From NOVA to Southside, the Urban Crescent to the Rural Backbone, when inequities in education persists, there is a cost to all involved including missed opportunities for economic development, greater dependence on government supports, and fewer Virginians ready to serve and lead.
Thursday, March 16, 2023 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.
Webinar #1: Building a Future Focused Culture
In this first webinar, Dr. Bill Daggett will share how leaders of public education can prepare students for their future. Advancements in technology, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), are redefining the skills and attributes that young people need to be successful in the workplace, home, and society of the future. Building a future focused culture does not happen overnight. That change occurs no faster than the rate of readiness and trust. Therefore, it is essential to first understand the values and beliefs that the community embraces. Strategies such as the Portrait of a Graduate design process, for example, is effective at engaging the education system and the broader community to help build a unifying, collective vision for all students. During this webinar, Dr. Bill Daggett will share practices and programs being implemented in the nation’s most successful districts.
Reserve your webinar seat now, by clicking here!

Tuesday, April 11, 2023 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.
Webinar #2: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Public Education
In the year 2023, is it even possible to remember a time when people managed their lives without the aid of the Internet, Smart Phone, or electronic banking? In reality, digital and information technology (IT) has impacted society on a global level so much, so quickly that 30 years sometimes feels like a hundred. Now, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is poised to have an even greater impact on how we live our daily lives, conduct our business, and communicate with others; and this will occur in a far shorter amount of time than IT did. What does this mean for education? How will AI affect what, how, and when (and why) we teach? In this second webinar or the series, Dr. Bill Daggett will provide specific examples of what schools can do to prepare for the major challenges and opportunities that AI will present.
Reserve your webinar seat now, by clicking here!

Thursday, May 18, 2023 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.
Webinar #3: Are We Preparing Students to be College and Career Ready?
The changing nature of work and the skills and dispositions required of entry-level employees are fundamentally different than those demanded of postsecondary students. Shortages of qualified laborers in the workforce pipeline is a growing concern for business and industry sectors; and now parents, community and political leaders are beginning to express similar worry. How do we create a true PreK-12 curriculum that provides students with a balanced focus between developing both college and career skills, knowledge, and attributes? In this third webinar in the series, Dr. Bill Daggett will share the nation’s most innovative and research-based best practices that deliver that delicate balance.
Reserve your webinar seat now, by clicking here!
Thursday, June 15, 2023 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.
Webinar #4: Engaging this Generation of Students in School
Students today have different interests, values, and modes of socializing. They are the first generation to live their whole life in age of advanced technology and AI. As such, they have become an extension of the technology they consume. So, in a world where technology dictates how people work, live, and interact, why is it that technology is underutilized in the classrooms that these technology-native students learn in? In this last webinar in the series, Dr. Bill Daggett will share the nation’s most innovative and research-based best practices that increase student engagement.
Reserve your webinar seat now, by clicking here!
VSBA Profile in Leadership: Meet Kathleen Beane, VSBA Eastern Region Chair
What do you do when you’re not working on School Board items?
My five grandsons and four daughters provide joy and claim as much of my time as I can give them. Milden Presbyterian Church in Sharps is another joy for me as clerk of the session and choir director. I also make time to spend with old friends and family through beach trips and impromptu gatherings.

Where do you turn for new ideas about serving your community?
Talking with community members about their concerns has always been effective when I want to know what others are thinking. I also regularly read the local papers that broadcast many events and thinkable ideas in our county and surrounding areas.

What are one or two issues/topics/challenges that are especially important to you and why?
The lack of respect for the profession and an unwillingness to work together has triggered a power struggle between educators and the nation’s communities over who should make decisions regarding what is being taught in our classrooms. The world has drastically changed since public education started with a one-room school with one teacher and public education needs to continue adapting its curriculum and methodology for today’s learners. We cannot do this and expect success if we are unwilling to work together for the sake of our children. Remember the importance of learning how to play well together in the kindergarten sandbox? What happened to that lesson?   

What is the most important thing you’ve learned through your board service that you’d like to share with others? 
There is no perfect solution to the many issues that plague the public school system. However, if you keep the focus on making decisions that are always centered on the well-being of the students, you are going in the right direction.
Kathleen Beane
VSBA Eastern Region Chair
Richmond County School Board
2023 VSBA Business Honor Roll
Local businesses have the power to shape community attitudes about public schools, and the VSBA Business Honor Roll is a way for local school divisions to recognize local businesses for their support, especially as schools face increasing budget uncertainty. The Business Honor Roll helps divisions say “thank you” for their vital contributions.

Businesses large and small, corporate-owned or family-run, play a key role in supporting our communities and local schools. They contribute to our school divisions in many ways, including helping schools with in-kind or financial contributions, donating to scholarship programs, supporting extracurricular activities, offering internship opportunities, volunteering in the schools, and sponsoring field trips. This type of support is invaluable. 

If you are working with a local business that deserves recognition, your division can add up to three names to the VSBA Business Honor Roll by passing a resolution (sample enclosed) and submitting the online form to us by March 31, 2023. Please see the guide for complete information, including submission guidelines. A signed resolution from the entire school board must be submitted.

Later this year, VSBA will publish the Business Honor Roll in the association newsletter and issue a news release about those honored through this program. We also will provide personalized recognition certificates and letters of congratulations for each business to division superintendents in time for boards to present to them at May school board meetings. 

Please contact [email protected] or 800-446-8722 if you have any questions.
VSBA Affiliate Member Profiles
Three VSBA Affiliate Members will be featured in each issue of the VSBA newsletter. Visit for a complete list of VSBA's Affiliate Members.
Steps 2 Connect Inc.
Providing Leadership, Professional Development, Customer Service, Training, Business Consulting, and Support Staff assistance

Ty McCoy
Phone: (877) 777-7002
ABM Education
ABM Education – helping K-12 schools excel. ABM provides multiple services that keep non-instructional costs down, control spending and protect priorities; ensure a healthy learning environment; improve facilities that support achievement.

Corinne Hummell  
Phone: (267) 272-1902
Cunningham Recreation/GameTime
Industry leaders in design and installation of playground equipment, shade, fitness equipment, sports equipment, bleachers, safety surfacing and site furnishings.

Michele Breakfield  
Phone: (800) 438-2780
Thank you for your support of the VSBA and Virginia's public education system!

February 28, 2023 - Superintendent Evaluation Workshop
On March 17, 2022, the Virginia Board of Education approved revisions to the Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Principals and the Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards for Superintendents to be implemented in the 2022-2023 academic school year in alignment with § 22.1-298.1 of the Code of Virginia. The Board of Education revised the principal and superintendent performance standards and evaluation criteria to add a new Standard 6, bringing the total number of performance standards to eight.

Location: VSBA Offices or virtual
Cost: $180 per registration

Join us for the March Hot Topic Conference in Wytheville, Virginia on March 15, 2023. This will be an informative and important hot topic conference that focuses on multiple trending education topics like workforce readiness, virtual reality in public schools, and the “new pandemic” teacher shortages.

Presentations will feature “Seeing Outside the Classroom” with Virtual Reality where both Bristol City and Cumberland County Public Schools will discuss how they use these tools to their advantage. Next, attendees will hear from Dr. Matt Hurt from The Comprehensive Instructional Program on the teacher shortage crisis. The final session will focus on workforce readiness and how Secure Futures Solar is working with school divisions to get students prepared for a career in Solar Technology.

Space is limited for this in person event, so make sure to register early!

Location: Wytheville Meeting Center - 333 Community Blvd, Wytheville, VA 24382
Cost: $190 per registration

Join school board members and education leaders from across the country at COSSBA's inaugural national conference for training and networking opportunities to engage around issues that directly impact the work of governing public education.

Location: Tampa, FL
Cost: Early Bird Discount - $549, Cost after January 28, 2023 - $599

April 13, 2023 – April Hot Topic Conference
Join us for the April Hot Topic Conference at the VSBA Offices in Charlottesville on April 13, 2023. This hot topic conference will focus on multiple trending education topics like broadband access, how to work with your local appropriating body, and dual enrollment.

Presentations will begin with an update from the Kajeet Broadband Access Grant winners. Next, attendees will hear from Dr. Jeffery Smith, Superintendent of Hampton City Public Schools on how to build a positive relationship with the city manager. The final two sessions will feature a panel of legislators on dual enrollment in public education and how school divisions can utilize a dashboard to create programs for student workforce readiness.

This is both a virtual and in person event. Space is limited for this in person event, so make sure to register early!

Location: VSBA Offices - 200 Hansen Rd., Charlottesville, VA 22911
Cost: $190 per registration
200 Hansen Road, Charlottesville, VA 22911
Tel: 434-295-8722 Fax: 434-295-8785