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STEPHANIE KLEIN-DAVIS | The Roanoke Times Photo taken August 23, 2011 Rita Bishop, Superintendent of Roanoke City Schools makes a presentation at Tuesday's Convocation ceremony held at the Roanoke Civic Center.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
An awesome honor
Roanoke’s audacious schools chief, Rita Bishop, was recognized by her peers this week as Virginia’s Superintendent of the Year. No surprise to her supporters in the city, and we count ourselves among them. But statewide recognition is always nice, and Bishop has earned it.
When she returned to Roanoke as schools superintendent in 2007, she took over a system dogged by many of the problems plaguing much larger urban school districts: a high poverty rate, low graduation rate, and wide gap in academic achievement between white students and students of color.
With absolute confidence that failing students were being failed — that the traditional school model wasn’t working in their lives — she prevailed on the school board to open Forest Park Academy to make it easier for drop-outs and students at risk of dropping out to complete the requirements for earning their diplomas.
The success of that first big initiative gave Bishop the credibility to act boldly and to ask much — of students, teachers and staff, and of the city and its residents. Together, they have moved the schools forward — though not enough. Yet.
Bishop is a bold advocate for the city’s schoolchildren. Her latest initiative, RCPS+, aims to make learning fun for all and to fill that summer enrichment gap that leaves poorer students behind. Moneywise, it’s a stretch.
We believe she’d take continued funding for it over any honor. Which is why it’d be so awesome should she snag the National Superintendent of the Year honor in February.
Today’s the day in Roanoke County
Residents of the Windsor Hills and Hollins magisterial districts mustn’t forget. Anyone who intends to vote in Republican firehouse primaries to nominate candidates for the county board of supervisors: This is the day to get out and do it.
In Windsor Hills, conservative former supervisor Joe McNamara and right-wing party activist RoxAnne Christley are competing for the chance to challenge independent Supervisor Ed Elswick in the November general election.
And in Hollins, former county GOP chairman Mike Bailey and Al Bedrosian are competing for a spot on the ballot for the seat being vacated by Republican Richard Flora — who, by the way, is backing independent Gary Jarrell, the district’s planning commission representative, in November.
Republicans who want a say in who will be on the ballot for their party need to take a few minutes between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to get to the party canvass in their district. In Windsor Hills, it will be held at the Brambleton Center, 3378 Brambleton Ave. In Hollins, it will be at the Hollins County Library, 6624 Peters Creek Road.
A quick stop between errands could make a big difference in the county’s future.
The miles yet to be traveled
The Roanoke River Greenway should be able to fill in some of the final gaps in the system with help from federal greenery.
The policy board of the Roanoke Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization will vote later this month on how to spend $28.2 million in federal transportation aid. A panel that reviewed proposals gave its strongest backing to an initiative that would complete the final, crucial stretches of the greenway from Green Hill Park to the Blue Ridge Parkway by 2021.
If the recommendations are accepted, the greenway would receive $12.8 million over the next six years.
The existing greenway is already a beloved and well-used amenity in the region. Bicyclists, joggers and saunterers in the coming years will welcome those extra miles to stretch their legs, burn off last night’s dessert and enjoy the beauty of their home.
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