School news for Aug. 11

RCPS convocation kicks off the school year

The official 2016-2017 school year began Monday (Aug. 8) as faculty and staff of Rappahannock County Public Schools gathered at the high school for the convocation activities. After breakfast prepared by the RCPS cafeteria staff, Superintendent Dr. Donna Matthews delivered the opening remarks, instructional updates and staff recognitions.

Following the superintendent’s remarks was a special keynote address by the 2013 National Teacher of the Year, Jeff Charbonneau, a teacher at Zillah High School in Zillah, Washington. Since 2001, he has taught chemistry, physics, engineering, and robotics and has been recognized at the local, state, national and international level for excellence, and in 2013 the U.S. National Teacher of the Year award was presented to him by President Barack Obama. RCPS became the fiscal agent to bring Charbonneau to the area, partnering with three other school divisions, Madison County, Manassas Park City and Clarke County, to share costs and bring Charbonneau’s message of inspiration to the region.

After the keynote address, faculty and staff were entertained by a humorous skit performed by the building principals, with a special appearance by high school Assistant Principal Jimmy Swindler’s son, former RCPS student and now body builder Trey Swindler, and his girlfriend, Aislin Myer, to announce the new $100,000 Commit to Be Fit grant project awarded to RCPS by the PATH Foundation. Each staff member received a Commit to be Fit “Get-Healthy Kit,” a sports duffel bag with fitness mat and balance block, sports bottle and a new Fitbit.

The gift bags were made possible through grant funding to raise awareness of the project and inspire all staff members to work on being healthy this year. Staff members were then treated to a benefits fair, a luncheon provided by the Headwaters Foundation and various breakout workshop sessions in the afternoon. The engaging topics of the breakout sessions included performance-based assessments by Dr. Shannon King, manager of best practices in teaching and learning at Fairfax County Public Schools and a professor at GMU; gold-standard project-based learning by RCHS Principal Mike Tupper and history teacher Eva Payne; and Charbonneau’s “Inspiring Students through Self-Discovery” session.

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