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Cary Elementary School librarian and three kids

Cary Elementary School librarian gifts each student with a book as she plans to retire

Melody Black, a teacher-librarian at Cary Elementary School, has worked for Hampton City Schools for 21 ½ years. She has decided that this will be her last year and she will retire at the end of this school year. As a way to share something meaningful with each child before she departs, Black decided to gift each child at Cary with a book.

Black said she the idea came to her when she found an amazing book last summer called “The Book of Gold” by Bob Staake. It was the inspiration for her own “Book of Gold” project. She said she spent the entire summer searching for new or like new books until she had over 400 to share. During the first two weeks of school she read “The Book of Gold” to every class at Cary. Starting the third week of school each class had their library cards put into a container and she drew out the first name. The student who’s name was drawn was allowed to select the book of their choice and pick the next name the following week. This continued each week until the last name was selected the last week in March. Each book included a book label that says “This Book of Gold belongs to:” that was filled out with the student’s name, date, a small heart and Black’s name. Students always asked, “Is it really mine to keep?”

Black said the students loved their BOG (Book of Gold) time and they would remind her that it was time to select the next name.

While Black has worked for HCS for over 21 years, she has spent 16 of those years as the teacher-librarian at Cary Elementary School. She started her career as a full-time kindergarten instructional assistant and worked as the office administrator of intersession/enrichment programs along with the assistant principal when Smith Elementary was launched as a year round school. She was invited by Sherry Holt, who was a supervisor for teacher-librarians at the time, to join the first Longwood Cohort for Librarianship, sponsored by HCS.

Black said she is in the process of buying a home in Alabama so she can spend lots of time with her family, pursue her love of writing and find a really cool place to volunteer. While she is excited for this new chapter of her life, she said she would definitely miss building relationships with children.

It seems as the Cary staff and students will also miss Black and her contributions to the Cary family. Principal Dr. Heidi Brezinski had the following to share about her:

“When I started at Cary, I had no idea what an asset Ms. Black would be to the heart of Cary - our kids! Yes, they know her as the "librarian" and yes, she checks books in and out to students.  But she does so much more! She breathes the love of reading into our students.  She makes them feel comfortable and safe enough to grab that book they've been dreaming to check out. She allows them to explore and build creativity within her library walls. But most of all - she teaches, expects and demonstrates kindness and love each and every day.  Choose kind . . . that's been her motto . . . but the best part is she lives it! Recently her kindness was spread to her students through gifting them with a book. But this is just one of countless ways she chooses kind and shows it here at Cary!”

Black also remembers fondly those really special teaching moments during her career. She was able to celebrate the accomplishments and a-ha moments of her students and also be there for them when they needed a little extra help or just a comforting friend to listen to them.

“I am truly grateful to Hampton for the opportunities I have been given to make a difference for children,” said Black. “I was blessed with an amazing principal who hired me, followed by others who trusted me enough in my space to do things out of the ordinary. Those out of the ordinary things gave many extraordinary experiences to our students. Our children are worth every effort!”

We wish Melody Black the best in her retirement and thank her for her service to Hampton City Schools and to our students.


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NONDISCRIMINATION/NONRETALIATION NOTICE
As stated in School Board Policy AC, Hampton City Schools (“HCS”) does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender, age, disability or other protected class in its programs, activities and employment practices and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups.  HCS also prohibits retaliation under School Board Policy GBAH for the purpose of interfering with a person’s rights and/or privileges under federal civil rights laws, which can include: (i) raising concerns with Division personnel about a civil rights violation; (ii) asserting a right or advocating for the rights of a student or employee under federal civil rights laws; or (iii) participating in a complaint investigation or related proceedings. 

All individuals are encouraged to promptly report any incident they believe to be discrimination, harassment or retaliation in violation of HCS School Board Policy.  All reports should be made to the HCS Compliance Officer, who also serves as the HCS Executive Director of Human Resources.  Upon receiving a report of alleged discrimination, harassment or retaliation, the Compliance Officer shall promptly authorize an investigation into the complaint, determine whether the alleged act occurred, and determine whether any action must be taken to end or prevent further harassment, discrimination, or retaliation.  For more information about this process, please review School Board Policy GBAB-R.    

Should you have any questions about these procedures or the contents of this notice, please contact Hampton City Schools Compliance Officer at: One Franklin Street, Hampton, VA  23669 or (757) 727-2300.  

HAMPTON CITY SCHOOLS WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY NOTICE

PURPOSE

Hampton City Schools (HCS) is committed to making its website accessible for all, including individuals with disabilities, and strives to ensure accessibility currently and as new technologies emerge.  The division welcomes questions and feedback on the site’s accessibility at each development phase.  By clicking on “Contact” at the upper right of the main webpage, all users are able to “Help Resolve a Concern,” “Share a Story,” “Provide Feedback,” and “Ask a Question.”  Additionally, the Contact Us page provides direct email access to HCS Webmaster Vickie Carper, vcarper@hampton.k12.va.us

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HCS’s computer systems and networks include all of the computer hardware, operating system software, application software, stored text, data files, electronic mail (email), local databases, externally accessed databases, CD-ROM, optical media, clip art, digital images, digitized information, communications technologies, and new available technologies.

Please note that some pages on the HCS website contain links to third-party sites.  HCS is not responsible for the content, facts, opinions or accessibility of third-party sites.

HCS WEBMASTER AND ACCESSIBILITY

The majority of pages in our site are available in HTML format that can be deciphered by screen readers. Some documents are in Portable Document Format (PDF), which require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.

  • To download this free program, visit the Adobe website.
  • To read PDF documents with a screen reader, please link to the Access Adobe website, which provides useful tools and resources.

Also, many popular browsers contain built-in accessibility tools, and there are other plug-ins that make websites more accessible.

The HCS website is designed and monitored by HCS Webmaster Vickie Carper, who serves as the gatekeeper for website content and accessibility.   The Webmaster is under the direction of the Executive Director of Public Relations and Marketing, supervised by the Director of Graphics.
 
Web visitors using assistive technology who may have trouble accessing information on the website may contact the HCS Webmaster, vcarper@hampton.k12.va.us., the Executive Director of Public Relations and Marketing, dgulotta@hampton.k12.va.us and/or the Director of Graphics, mhouser@hampton.k12.va.us.

When submitting a question or concern via email, “accessibility” should be included in the subject line.  Every reasonable attempt will be made to address the user’s concern within twenty-four hours.  To assist HCS in responding appropriately, all inquiries should include the following information:

  • A description of the accessibility concern or question;
  • The webpage address of the requested material;
  • The format in which the user prefers to receive the material;
  • The user’s contact information, including preferred method of contact.

SELF-MONITORING

HCS monitors all technology resource activity and requires all employees, students and individuals with access to HCS computer systems and networks to annually read and sign an Acceptable Use Policy.  See School Board Policy IIBEA for Students; School Board Policy GBBB for Employees.

Our continuing goal is for the HCS website to be accessible to individuals with disabilities in compliance with the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and that statute's implementing regulations at 34 C.F.R. Part 104, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and that statute's implementing regulations at 28 C.F.R. Part 35.

Good faith efforts are being made to ensure that our website complies with web accessibility standards. In addition to the federal regulations above, we are actively working to conform to level AA of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.
Prior to posting new website content, the HCS Webmaster determines if the proposed content meets the criteria of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).  Periodically the HCS Webmaster checks the website with a recognized website checker such as 508 Checker and WAVE.  If the audit identifies issues of concern or content errors that impede accessibility to any user, the concerns/errors are evaluated and remedied within a six-week period.

DISCLAIMER

HCS’s website and computer systems and networks are provided on an “as available” basis.  HCS makes no warranties, expressed or implied, without limitation, regarding the fitness for a particular purpose regarding any service provided by the system and any information contained or software used therein.  The division uses hardware and software provided by third-party technology vendors.  Therefore, the division does not warrant that the functions or services performed by, or that the information or software on the system, will meet the user’s requirements.