From the Desk of Mr. Yoshida

Birdneck Elementary 10/14/2016


Hello Birdneck Community,

We are half way through our first nine weeks of the school year and you should have received interim progress reports this week. Students in Virginia Beach City Schools grades K-5 all receive standards based report cards. All students in grades K-5 receive a standards-based report card that includes proficiency scores rather than single letter-grades for student performance in subject areas. The report card shares specific feedback about a student’s progress toward the skills and understanding of each standard in a subject area. This is important because it better identifies where a student is excelling in a subject, as well as where he/she might need additional assistance. Please read below to see some answers to frequently asked questions parents have had.

I hope you are able to join us October 20th for a fun filled night of great company, pizza, BINGO, and prizes. While all students will receive a prize, the grand prize for BINGO will be a Kindle Fire!

Virginia Beach Schools has a very comprehensive curriculum for each grade level. It is important to us that our parents and guardians are aware of the curriculum and standards our children are learning at school so that you can support student learning at home. I hope you will take some time to review the curriculum for your child's grade level at the following webpage:

Have a fantastic Friday,

R.V. Yoshida

Picture Day October 18th

Please send your order forms for pictures on or before October 18th.


Thursday, Oct. 20th, 6-7:30pm

957 South Birdneck Road

Virginia Beach, VA

Thank you to our PTA for putting together a fun-filled night for us on Thursday, October 20th from 6:00-7:30 p.m.

The price is $10.00 per pizza which includes bingo sheets, lemonade or water for each member of your family. PIZZAS MUST BE PRE-ORDERED (No refunds). To pre-order your pizza return the your payment and the form that went home in the Thursday packet no later than Monday, October 17th.

All students will receive a prize and have a chance at the grand prize: Kindle Fire!

Make Up Plan Announced for School Days

Instructional time missed because of widespread flooding last week will be made up Monday, Oct. 24 and Monday, Jan. 30; two days previously scheduled as Staff Days. This allows students to recoup learning time within the current semester. This is a change from the previously published 2016-2017 school calendar, which had designated makeup days primarily in the second semester. The calendar was designed taking into consideration that most school closures in Hampton Roads occur as the result of winter storms.

“By adjusting the schedule to make use of Oct. 24, our students (particularly those in semester courses) are not losing valuable time in the classroom,” said Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence. “In addition, we are protecting those previously identified makeup days in the second semester, which, given the snow and ice we’ve had in years past, will help us stay prepared for any hazardous winter weather.”

As a reminder, in cases of school closings due to inclement weather or emergency conditions, makeup days will be designated by the superintendent and may include available staff days or holidays. The 2016-2017 school calendar has been updated to reflect the changes in makeup days and is available on

Standards Bases Grading

Why does the school division use standards-based grading report cards at the elementary level?

The division implemented a standards-based report card in 2013 to allow parents/legal guardians to receive more detailed information about their child's academic strengths and challenges and to better ensure consistent grading practices in all elementary schools.

Has this approach been tested?

Standards-based grading is an emerging national trend that progressive school divisions across the country are embracing. VBCPS is in the third year of full implementation of standards-based grading and spent an additional two years field testing the report card. The standards-based report card was developed with input from parents and staff to better inform parents of students’ academic progress.

How will my child be graded?

All students will receive only a proficiency score indicating how well he or she understands the concept or skill taught during that marking period. These proficiency scores are:

  • N: Novice - Needs improvement; not making expected progress toward proficiency
  • DP: Developing Proficiency - Beginning to grasp and apply key concepts, processes and skills
  • P: Proficient - Regularly grasps and applies key concepts, processes and skills with limited errors
  • AP: Advanced Proficient - Consistently demonstrates proficiency; grasps, applies and extends key concepts,
    process and skill

Are the proficiency scores students earn on classroom assignments the same scores (AP, P, DP and N) used on the report card?

Yes. Assignments given to all students use the same proficiency scores that appear on the report card. In addition, class assignments also contain descriptive feedback aligned to the specific objective being taught to communicate student progress.

How does the standard-based report card format show a student's academic performance?

The proficiency score assigned to each standard shows a parent how well his/her child is progressing in a specific skill of a subject area.

What is a "standard" and where are they located on each of the report cards?

Report cards for each grade level include a variety of subject areas such as math, reading, science, social studies, music, art and health/physical education. Under each subject area is a breakdown of the "standards" or expectations for student learning and achievement tied to those subject areas. These standards are written in a parent-friendly format. Your student receives proficiency scores for each standard to indicate his/her progress in a subject area. For example, instead of receiving an overall score/grade for the subject area of math, a third grade student has proficiency scores that detail progress in addition, subtraction, multiplication, units of measure, plane and solid geometric shapes and the concepts of probability.

Is each standard given a proficiency score during every grading period?

Students only receive proficiency scores for the standards taught and/or assessed during a grading period.

If there is a blank shaded box following a standard on the report card, what does this mean?

If a box is blank and shaded following a standard on the report card, it means the standard was not taught and/or assessed during the marking period.

When would the grade "NE" (Not Evaluated) be found on the report card?

If a student was not evaluated on a standard taught, a grade of "NE" will be found in the box. For example, a student just beginning to learn English as Second Language (ESL) would receive an NE, as would a new/transfer student who has not been assessed during the marking period.

Will standards-based grading change how a student is identified for gifted services?

No. The identification of students for gifted program services will continue to be made by the Identification and Placement Committee based on specific criteria.

Will standards-based grading change how students are selected for Old Donation School?

No. Old Donation School will continue to require that a student meet the criteria for gifted services and undergo the screening process. The following components will continue to be used in the decision making process:

  • Student achievement (as indicated on the current report card)
  • Standardized test scores
  • Parent Information
  • Teacher recommendations

If I have a question about the new report card, whom should I contact?

Parents should contact their child’s teacher or school principal to discuss questions about their child’s report card.



The mission of Birdneck Elementary is to dedicate ourselves to the success of all children, preparing them to meet today's expectations and tomorrow's challenges.


Children are our future. We are dedicated to their success.


We believe in a collaborative community in which teachers, administrators, students, and parents work together for student success.

We believe in creating a safe, nurturing, and positive environment in which all students can strive for excellence and achieve their individual potential.
We believe we will prepare our students for success by providing 21st century learning and developing within our students critical thinking, effective communications and problem solving skills.