Family Reunion Redefined



Orchestra students from Grassfield High School performed a variety of songs in the lobby while guests waited for the event to begin. (Photo Credit: Alyssa Shaw - GBH)

Lour McCain

Naomi Dunbar (Right) and Kathy Roberts-Walker (Left) join Lou McCain (Center) who was recognized at the event for founding the Riverbucks program. (Photo Credit: Aderonke Adeleke - IRH)

Chesapeake TV

As a Digital Media Representative, I was able to see Chesapeake Television work on location during the State of the School System Address. (Photo Credit: David LeBeauf - WBH)

Ronnie Riffle

Ronald Riffle, first-year teacher from Sparrow Road Intermediate, shared his experience as a part of the Career Commitment Program. (Photo Credit: Talia Brinkley - DCH/CCC)

City council

City Treasurer Barbara Carraway, Mayor Richard West, and Council Member Ella Ward join in the State of the Schools celebration. (Photo credit: Ashley Wright - HHS)


Chesapeake Public Schools is extremely proud of our partnerships and were happy to have several representatives join us for the State of the Schools Address. (Photo Credit: Savannah Caitlin - GFH)

Jamari - WBH

Jamari Robinson shares her personal experience with the Safe Schools Ambassador Program designed to empower students to combat bullying in their schools. She is joined by Dr. Stephanie Johnson, program coordinator (David LeBeauf - WBH)

Brianna - GBH

Brianna Harper, a student from Hugo Owens Middle School, attended the conference to sing the National Anthem. After performing, Harper gave Supervisor of Public Relations Richie Babb a high five. (Photo Credit: Alyssa Shaw - GBH)

Dr. Cotton - HHS

Superintendent Jared Cotton presents information about the Empower 2025 Strategic Plan. (Photo Credit: Alyssa Shaw - GBHS)

Tyler and GFH- By HHS

Students Tyler Miller (left) and Aryan Kumar (right) attended the State of the Schools Address. Miller also shared with the group how students can rise to potential if given ample time, help, and the tools to do so. (Photo Credit: Ashley Wright - HHS)

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There are lots of good things about family reunions: seeing loved ones you haven’t seen in a while, good food, and of course the chance to catch up and tell stories.

These same good things were what made this year’s State of the School System breakfast feel like a family reunion of sorts. The event, held recently at the Chesapeake Conference Center, brought together members from all branches of our educational family tree.

Over 450 guests, including our district employees, members of our business community, elected officials, and several students, joined us to support the CPS Educational Foundation and hear stories that illustrated our success over the past year. The stories centered around the four main goals of our strategic plan: academics, employees, environment, and community.

I was proud to share the stage with some incredible story-tellers including Hunter Johnson and his classmates who created an app and got donations to match students who need glasses and eye exams with the resources.  As a result of his team’s efforts, they won $100,000 worth of technology for their school, Deep Creek Middle, in the process. Mr. Ronald Riffle, a first-year teacher at Sparrow Road Intermediate, also joined me to share his experience as a part of our renewed Career Commitment program. That early commitment contract allowed Mr. Riffle to, “…come home…” and teach just three doors down from the classroom he spent time in as a fifth-grader at Sparrow Road Elementary.

These are just two examples of many that make me extremely proud of the work that is being done in and out of our classrooms every day. And if stories define a family, the ones about CPS reveal a family whose all-encompassing focus is on empowering young people to successfully fulfill their life’s purpose.  That’s what we do! 

If you were not able to attend, you can take a look at some of the incredible moments captured by our student media representatives, or you can watch the broadcast of the event provided by our friends at Chesapeake TV.  It will be re-aired on Channel 48 or you can access the program on-demand by visiting their website.

Great things are happening in Chesapeake Public Schools and we are just getting started! I look forward to sharing many more successes at next year’s State of the Schools!