I Believe

I believe that 2014-15 will be the best school year ever!

Over the summer at iLearn and our superintendent’s professional development session, the superintendent, executive director for school administration and I handed out coffee cups, notepads and buttons with the words “I believe in you.” The pins have this quote from Anne Frank:


ann frank


“Everyone has inside him a piece of good news.The good news is that you don’t realize how great you can be!  How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!”



We each have inside us a piece of good news. Let me share with you what I believe about Chesterfield County Public Schools and our written, taught and tested curriculum.

ccps teachers

Board Chair Dianne Smith with teachers at Camp Chromebook

I believe we have a strong written curriculum to support teaching and learning. Our curriculum frameworks and pacing guides are available on the new CNET. Teachers came away from iLearn excited about the new curriculum documents to support digital learning. Our specialists have worked hours and weeks individually and with teams of teachers to redesign the written curriculum. Let CNET and the curriculum frameworks guide your work in planning lessons. The curriculum documents align with the Virginia Standards of Learning and contain important information including:

  • essential understandings for students
  • background knowledge
  • instructional strategies
  • key vocabulary
  • writing prompts
  • assessments
  • model lessons
  • multimedia support
  • presentations
  • resources

I believe in the power of formative assessments to support the taught curriculum. Teachers in grades 3 through end-of-course can take advantage of new digital assessment resources from Interactive Achievement. Teachers will now be able to create formative assessments aligned with the standards in just a few clicks. Students enter their answers on the computer, and teachers can take advantage of a deep level of data analysis to determine strengths, weaknesses and interventions for individuals or groups. Through this analysis of student data, teachers will be able to adjust instruction to meet the needs of all students and provide targeted feedback about specific skills students are lacking.

ccps teacher

Providence Middle math teacher Melike Monahan was one of just 204 teachers from 27 countries selected for the Honeywell Educators Space Academy in Huntsville, Alabama.

I believe in the ability of teachers to make the curriculum engaging, relevant and rigorous. Revisit the guiding principle of student engagement and the rigor/relevance model from International Center for Leadership Excellence. As teachers incorporate rigorous and relevant instruction and assessment, students will become highly engaged in learning, prepared for the future as 21st-century collaborators, communicators, creative thinkers and critical problem-solvers.

I believe every Chesterfield employee has the ability to build positive relationships with students, to show students they care and believe in their abilities. Anne Frank’s quote references “how much you can love.” Students do their best work when they feel connected to a caring adult — yes, a loving adult.

I believe in our strategic plan, the Design for Excellence 2020, and its strategies to support student learning. But I’ll save some of my thoughts on our guiding principles and the big ideas of blended learning, project-based learning and service learning for future blogs. Stay tuned: We’ll have guest bloggers throughout the year share their beliefs about teaching and learning. Hey, if you —yes, YOU reading this blog — would like to be a guest blogger and share the good news from your class or school, just send me an email.

good newsI believe in sharing the good news of Chesterfield County Public Schools! I created a hashtag on Twitter, #ccpsibelieve, that principals, specialists and directors are including in their tweets about the good news of their schools or the anticipation of great things for the upcoming year. Check it out — we already have 65 tweets! I encourage you to go to #ccpsibelieve and share accomplishments.

ccps students

Jacobs Road Elementary kindergartners made their message clear last week for Valentine’s Day and the start of the school’s Jump Rope for Heart fundraiser.

Most importantly, I believe in our students. From prekindergartners to seniors, I believe they have the potential to change the world and accomplish great things! In your classroom will be a future entrepreneur, inventor, problem solver, president, doctor, lawyer, athlete or writer. You will shape their future, one day at a time.




I DO believe that 2014-15 will be the best school year ever. Let’s make it happen!

About donnadalton

Currently, I am honored to serve as the Chief Academic Officer for Chesterfield County Public Schools. This year begins my 41st year in public education and my final year in Chesterfield. Prior to this position, I served as the Director of Professional Development, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and Mathematics Instructional Specialist. I have taught mathematics at the elementary, middle and high school levels. I have been married for 40 years to my husband, Bob, and our house is ruled by our sweet dog, Bella. We have one son and a daughter-in-law and are proud grandparents to Tyler and Kinsley!
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8 Responses to I Believe

  1. I believe here in Chesterfield we are surrounded by the best educators in the country and the answers are right here within our team! Best of luck to the best year ever!

    Cyndee Blount
    Director of Elementary Education

  2. Harold Saunders says:

    I believe that we will have a great year if we remain focused on the right thing…providing the best educational experience possible for our students!

    Best wishes to everyone, as we move into 2014-2015!

    Harold Saunders
    Director of Professional Development

  3. Diane Siegel says:

    I believe that Evergreen Elementary will have our best year ever, and I am looking forward to Tuesday when all of our students arrive.

  4. Leigh DeFreitas says:

    I believe every child has the potential to discover the joy of reading, and I am looking forward to spreading sunshine through the love of books for my students this year. Leigh DeFreitas, Reading Specialist, Bettie Weaver Elementary

  5. Yvonne Willis, Administrative Secretary says:

    I believe that each and every person has a gift and talent within them…which will shine brighter than ever throughout the coming year.

  6. Dr. Stacy says:

    I believe we are going to see some pretty amazing things from teachers and students this year!

  7. Beth Teigen says:

    I believe student achievement will soar as our teachers dig deep into the curriculum frameworks. They understand that they must align the written, taught and tested curriculum if students are going to master the standards at the level of rigor for which they could be tested.

  8. Linda Wood says:

    I believe that all of our students will come to school on Tuesday with hope in their hearts. They want to do well and be recognized for their efforts. I believe that our teachers are the ones who will inspire and challenge them all year long. The passion and talent are there! Let’;s make it the best year ever! All of our students can soar!

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