UVA Health System Physician Dr. Ayotunde Dokun stresses the importance of mathematics during MCube, a summer math-readiness program

Albemarle County Public Schools has hired Rick Vrhovac as the new assistant principal at Walton Middle School, the division announced last week. Vrhovac is arriving on the heels of numerous leadership and student conduct complaints at the school.

Vrhovac comes to Walton from Albemarle High School, where he served as assistant principal since 2009. Prior to working in Albemarle, Vrhovac taught, coached, and directed athletics in Louisa County for eight years. Vrhovac has taught science at Burley Middle School and in 1996 joined the staff at Albemarle High School, where he led the anti-bullying program “Stop One, Save One” since 2011. Walton principal Alison Dwier-Selden plans for Vrhovac to develop a similar program at the middle school and said Vrhovac’s experience working with eighth graders transitioning to high school will be a benefit.

Walton’s new administrator is a graduate of David Lipscomb University, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Physical Education, and James Madison University, where he completed a Master’s degree in Physical Education.

This week’s EDUCATION ROUNDUP appears in C-VILLE Weekly

M-Cubed: a partnership for math and life skills

Last week, members of the group 100 Black Men explained to middle school students how taking advanced math courses before high school will help prepare students for college.

100 Black Men is a national organization dedicated to “improving the quality of life within our communities and enhancing educational and economic opportunities for all African Americans.”

The meeting was part of M-Cubed (Math, Men, and Mission), a year-long mentoring program with a two-week summer component. The program is designed to increase enrollment and performance in middle school mathematics by African-American males. The meeting, which occurred at J.P. Burley Middle School, saw twenty-one local professionals impressing upon the fifth- through eighth-graders the importance of education and self-confidence, as well as fostering an interest in completing advanced mathematics courses, such as Algebra I and Geometry, in middle school.

Other M-Cubed activities consist of reading about prominent African American figures, mentoring sessions focused on homework, personal issues, and life goals, as well as mandatory workshops for the participants parents to reinforce these principles within the home.

Speaking in foreign tongues

As the Albemarle County School Board continues to update its Strategic Plan, the document that guides the division’s actions, the establishment of foreign language instruction in Albemarle’s elementary schools last week became one of the Board’s main priorities.

New funding from the Board of Supervisors would be required to launch the program, which Board member Diantha McKeel said county parents have been requesting for years.

Assistant Superintendent Billy Haun said cost, the grades included, and languages taught will depend on the program’s purpose, which can range from cultural awareness to fluency. Haun said as elementary students master world languages, the division will also have to adjust middle school language instruction, and the initiative would require hiring new teachers and central office staff. Staff will include the program in the upcoming budget approval process, which begins this winter. If approved, Haun said instruction could begin as soon as the 2015-16 school year.

The Board adopted the current Strategic Plan in 2005 and every two years they reassess the Plan’s priorities.