State of Schools tickets available

Published 10:48 pm Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Suffolk Public Schools has extended the RSVP deadline for its 2014 State of the Schools and Annual Learning Fair to Monday.

The theme for this year’s event, the “5 C’s” — critical thinking, communication, collaboration, compassion and creativity — is a modern-day spin on the old “reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic,” school district spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw said.

“Similar to the State of the Union, State of the Commonwealth, State of the City … (it’s) an annual event where the schools share with the community how things are going, challenges (and) successes,” Bradshaw said. “It’s an annual opportunity to have a public sharing of information.”

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The event will be held April 1 at 8 a.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn, 100 E. Constance Road.

In addition to Superintendent Deran Whitney’s address and the learning fair, the event also include the district’s annual “video report,” which serves as a year in review, Bradshaw said.

A sneak preview of the video shared by Bradshaw highlights the efforts of Suffolk Public Schools to prepare youth for the future. “The Suffolk community needs to do whatever we can to help our students connect learning with real life … and with the challenges of a changing, global society,” the narrator says.

As for the learning fair, 2014 marks its third year. “It’s similar to a science fair, where kids are going to demonstrate some of the things they do in their classroom,” Bradshaw said.

Tipped to be of special interest this year is a station focusing on the district’s bring-your-own-device policy, which was recently rolled out to all three high schools after being tested at King’s Fork.

Guests will experience how students are using electronic devices in classrooms for things besides just accessing the web, Bradshaw said.

“We’ll ask the guests to use their own cellphones,” she said. “The teachers at the table will instruct them in quizzes,” and they will see the results on a bar graph, for example.

Other things to be highlighted, Bradshaw added, will include world history festivals, the Farm Day field trip, competition robotics, earthworm experiments and community connections with the Nansemond River Preservation Alliance.

Meanwhile, Bradshaw said, the so-called whole-brain approach to teaching will also be explained and demonstrated.

Funded by the Suffolk Education Foundation and sponsors, the event receives no tax dollars, Bradshaw noted.

“Parents should be interested in this, community leaders, city government people,” she said. “Business people, because they are hiring our graduates, even if they don’t have kids in school. Even retirees — their tax dollars are still helping pay for our schools.”

To RSVP, email RSVP@spsk12.net or call 925-6752.