Sergio Neal for A Better Portsmouth Education

Sergio Neal for A Better Portsmouth Education This page is dedicated to the improvement of public education here in the city of Portsmouth. Please share your questions, comments, and concerns.

It truly takes a village to ensure the best educational experience for all of our students.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. As an advocate, I have consistently spoken for the addition of a self def...
10/19/2020

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. As an advocate, I have consistently spoken for the addition of a self defense clause for victims of bullying. It is imperative that we continue to push against bullying for the safety and well being of all in the learning environment.

To the candidates who are facing the rift raft in Portsmouth, remember this message. We will stand behind you 100% to en...
10/08/2020

To the candidates who are facing the rift raft in Portsmouth, remember this message. We will stand behind you 100% to ensure that you do what you are destined to do. I know it is hard to remain in a cool, calm, and collected state with alot of the foolishness that goes on but watch what I tell you. A new day is coming. The wolves in sheep's clothing are being exposed.

Good afternoon. Often times, we have to remember the true spirit of those leaders who have come before us. This is why I...
09/30/2020

Good afternoon. Often times, we have to remember the true spirit of those leaders who have come before us. This is why I continue to fight for improved education in Portsmouth regardless of money, position, and the people involved in the fight. This is one for ALL!!!

Good afternoon! Today starts an amazing and very important part of our democratic process- voting! I encourage each and ...
09/18/2020

Good afternoon! Today starts an amazing and very important part of our democratic process- voting! I encourage each and every one of you to get out and vote today if you can. This day is even more special to me because it is the day before my birthday. What better way to spend part of that countdown than to spend some time voting. Since education is my heart, here is my list of candidates that I feel will support a quality education for ALL the most as a mayor, city council member, or a school board member:

Tony Goodwin- Mayor
Ted Lamb- City Council Member
Dante' Waltson- City Council Member
DeAndre Barnes- City Council Member
Sarah Duncan Hinds- School Board Member
Angelia Smoak-Allen- School Board Member
Willie Bamberg- School Board Member
Gary Bunting- School Board Member

It is time to ensure that public education in Portsmouth has the right representation. We can make it happen starting today!!

Good morning! Many people have been asking for updates on the buses being out in the neighborhoods to provide internet a...
09/15/2020

Good morning! Many people have been asking for updates on the buses being out in the neighborhoods to provide internet access for students to use and have access to the virtual learning. I was told yesterday that the buses have not yet been completed and there is no update available on date of completion. With that being said, who has internet resources they could share? Are you a business owner who is willing to allow a small group of students in to be able to access the internet? If so, please comment below. Thank you for your help!

Good morning. This moment here is forever engrained in my mind. I was a high school student at Norcom High in my History...
09/11/2020

Good morning. This moment here is forever engrained in my mind. I was a high school student at Norcom High in my History class when all of a sudden, all of the tvs in the school came on and a scary silence fell over the entire building. There is nothing that could have prepared our minds for what had taken place. Today, we must take a moment to educate ourselves and our students on this ultimate sacrifice made by those who lost their lives on this day and the related days after. May God continue to be a source of comfort the families, the friends, and the citizens of the United States of America as we reflect today.

Good morning! This first day of school is so different yet the excitement is still the same! We have traded the bus stop...
09/08/2020

Good morning! This first day of school is so different yet the excitement is still the same! We have traded the bus stops and car lines for at home desks and chromebooks so the learning can start off on the right foot during these unprecedented times. I hope everyone has a great first day of virtual learning! Feel free to share your experiences here.

Happy Labor Day! As we all prepare for the virtual reopening of schools tomorrow, let us be reminded of how important th...
09/07/2020

Happy Labor Day! As we all prepare for the virtual reopening of schools tomorrow, let us be reminded of how important the work is. Enjoy your evening students, teachers, parents, administrators, support staff, and education advocates. A new journey awaits us tomorrow!!

Good afternoon. I just found out that state education funding will be cut by 95 million dollars this school year. Locall...
09/03/2020
Virginia schools set to lose another $95 million in funding

Good afternoon. I just found out that state education funding will be cut by 95 million dollars this school year. Locally, Portsmouth is set to lose $570,000. It is highly important that parents and concerned citizens pay attention to what this could mean for our schools. Please see the article at this link for further information:

https://www.pilotonline.com/news/education/vp-nw-virginia-school-funding-20200903-y4p5e5uigzduxbbqruiip25osy-story.html

Virginia school leaders have said these new cuts — another $178 million was nixed earlier this year — threaten to significantly hamper the services they can provide. They are already operating with thin margins and unexpected costs continue to pile up.

Good morning! As virtual school gears up to start in about a week or so, student desks for home use are in high demand. ...
08/31/2020

Good morning! As virtual school gears up to start in about a week or so, student desks for home use are in high demand. I was wondering if loaning school desks out to students who need them has been considered? Do you think this is a good or bad idea?

Good morning! This is something that might come up in a classroom and I saw it as the perfect opportunity to engage with...
08/22/2020

Good morning! This is something that might come up in a classroom and I saw it as the perfect opportunity to engage with our youth. Ask your child or children these questions and post the answers in the comments. This is just to see how our youth views their community. I can't wait to see what they have to say!

Good morning! Since history has always been one of my favorite subjects, I wanted to provide a source for some history o...
08/10/2020
Closing The Schools: Lessons From The 1918–19 U.S. Influenza Pandemic | Health Affairs

Good morning! Since history has always been one of my favorite subjects, I wanted to provide a source for some history of how school was handled during the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919. I found this article published on healthaffairs.org to be very interesting. It provides some of the lessons learned during an analysis of 43 school districts' responses to the health crisis. Here is the link:

https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/full/10.1377/hlthaff.28.6.w1066

Other Health Affairs Vol.28 No.Supplement 1 Closing The Schools: Lessons From The 1918–19 U.S. Influenza Pandemic

Good afternoon! I ran across this earlier and wanted to share this. The realist in me is why it captured my attention. S...
08/04/2020

Good afternoon! I ran across this earlier and wanted to share this. The realist in me is why it captured my attention. Sometimes in life, we just have to call out the hard reasons why a quality education is so important. This is the straight truth, no chaser needed.

Good evening! This is a special announcement. Portsmouth School Board members just voted 8-0 to start the 2020-2021 scho...
07/29/2020

Good evening! This is a special announcement. Portsmouth School Board members just voted 8-0 to start the 2020-2021 school year 100% virtual. I will post further information as it is publicized to make sure it is accurate as possible.

Good evening! I couldn't help but go back to 2017 when I think about teacher morale. It was the first time in my life th...
07/24/2020

Good evening! I couldn't help but go back to 2017 when I think about teacher morale. It was the first time in my life that I realized the lack of attention given to this topic. We knew there was a crisis in education but the critical component of teacher morale was missing its moment. Fast forward to 2020. Where do we stand with teacher morale now, especially with a pandemic going on? Are we giving them the support, encouragement, and resources they need? Are we helping to ensure they can address their self care needs when necessary? Ask your school board candidates just how important teacher morale is to them and what do they plan to do to address it if they are elected. I have included an article at the following link that gives a little history as to why teacher morale is so important to me.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/localtvwtkr.wordpress.com/2017/06/06/portsmouth-school-board-to-discuss-morale-concerns-after-teacher-speaks-up/amp/

If you have not already heard, PPS is collecting your feedback on school reopening scenarios for the 2020-2021 school ye...
07/20/2020

If you have not already heard, PPS is collecting your feedback on school reopening scenarios for the 2020-2021 school year. Please take time to complete this very important survey. The link is here:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/B6VLGTW

Good evening! I'm sending a message of caution because I want all of Portsmouth to be aware of this issue. Apparently, t...
07/19/2020

Good evening! I'm sending a message of caution because I want all of Portsmouth to be aware of this issue. Apparently, there is a group of individuals trying to force some of the strongest education advocate school board and city council candidates out of their respective races. I advise everyone to pay attention.

Good afternoon! I wanted to take a moment to address something that so many of our students are experiencing now more th...
07/15/2020

Good afternoon! I wanted to take a moment to address something that so many of our students are experiencing now more than ever in the wake of this pandemic- adverse childhood experiences. What you see in the picture here are different examples of these adverse childhood experiences or ACES. The way to address ACES is through trauma informed care. There has been a push to get trauma informed care in Portsmouth's schools but we need more people to speak up in order to really get the ball rolling. As we face a new normal, it is going to take all of us together to ensure our students as well as our teachers and staff have the resources necessary to face this head on. Ask your candidates for school board and city council how they plan to support trauma informed care in our schools!

https://www.nctsn.org/trauma-informed-care

Good morning! Celebrating milestones is something very important to me. What makes this milestone even more special is t...
07/13/2020

Good morning! Celebrating milestones is something very important to me. What makes this milestone even more special is that so many people have helped me reach it. I am happy to announce that this page has over 200 followers!! Some may say that is a small number for a blog page but here me out: 200+ followers means 200+ people that are dedicated to improving education in our city. I know there are plenty more so please keep sharing the page with your family, friends, and neighbors. There is so much more to come as I continue to work within the people to ensure that the Portsmouth family's best interests involving education are met. Make no mistake- the elected will continue to be held accountable and they will hear our concerns!

Good morning! I was just sitting back thinking how the "normals" of education will be changing this school year and this...
07/10/2020

Good morning! I was just sitting back thinking how the "normals" of education will be changing this school year and this is something that popped into my mind. This time of year is usually when the lists start getting filled for school supplies, clothes, and shoes. The question now is what else is going to be added to the list in the wake of this pandemic? Will the normal school supply drives for our less fortunate take place? So much to consider. Let me hear from you.

Good afternoon! An updated school reopening plan has been announced by Governor Northam. Please see the link below to vi...
07/07/2020
VDOE :: School Reopening FAQ

Good afternoon! An updated school reopening plan has been announced by Governor Northam. Please see the link below to view. After you read, please feel free to provide your feedback in the comments section.

http://www.doe.virginia.gov/support/health_medical/office/covid-19-faq-reopening.shtml

Home » Student & School Support » School Health Services » School Health Office » COVID-19 & Virginia Public Schools » School Reopening Frequently Asked Questions

Question for all Portsmouth voters: how important are endorsements to you? Some of our local candidates flaunt endorseme...
07/06/2020

Question for all Portsmouth voters: how important are endorsements to you? Some of our local candidates flaunt endorsements like a manipulated body while others simply thank and move on. I personally like candidates who can earn my vote before any endorsement is announced. Just my two cents.

Parents of children who receive special education services and all concerned citizens please read this! Ask our school b...
06/30/2020
Federal report faults Virginia Department of Education over special education oversight - Virginia Mercury

Parents of children who receive special education services and all concerned citizens please read this! Ask our school board candidates and current sitting school board members what do they plan to do to address this MAJOR issue!

https://www.virginiamercury.com/2020/06/29/virginia-department-of-education-failed-to-enforce-special-education-requirements-federal-report-says/?fbclid=IwAR14jGq3viD3GXH0Q3G7osVTrMNiCbLa_SK_R0tQ1Y4EdkJ3eA-Iz131sHU

A new federal report finds systemic failures in how the Virginia Department of Education monitors and responds to special education complaints against local school districts. VDOE is contesting several findings in the June 23 letter, sent to Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane b...

Good evening! As we all start on the local political journey to the November elections, please be mindful of this inters...
06/29/2020

Good evening! As we all start on the local political journey to the November elections, please be mindful of this intersection- politics and education. I can see now that some of our local candidates will do any and everything to use education as a talking point in a campaign, but do little or nothing to improve it once elected. Keep your eyes and ears open my fellow Portsmouth citizens!!

Good afternoon everyone! Here is today's topic: transparency. Over the years, we have heard this word more and more. How...
06/26/2020

Good afternoon everyone! Here is today's topic: transparency. Over the years, we have heard this word more and more. However, many citizens of Portsmouth would say they have seen less and less of it. I believe this is part of the reason why there is such a disconnect between our city council and school board. So let me ask my Portsmouth neighbors this question. What would you like to see more of in an effort to promote transparency between our governing bodies? Candidates for school board and city council can jump in here as well.

Good afternoon! As we celebrate all of our graduates, this is the question they are asking: now what?  So, do we have th...
06/25/2020

Good afternoon! As we celebrate all of our graduates, this is the question they are asking: now what? So, do we have the answer for them? Portsmouth has a multitude of career choices with alot of them requiring some type of college degree or certification. I'm attaching a link to a survey that was done to see if students felt prepared for the next steps in their college or career journey. Take a look at the results.

https://youthtruthsurvey.org/college-career-readiness-2017/

Good afternoon! I know many of you have been wondering where I am as far as the school board campaign. Well here is the ...
06/24/2020

Good afternoon! I know many of you have been wondering where I am as far as the school board campaign. Well here is the latest update. After many conversations with friends and family, I have decided against going any further with pursuing a state and court level appeal to appear on the November ballot. This was not a decision that I take lightly because so many people put in an extraordinary amount of effort with this campaign. All of the miles and conversations with fellow Portsmouth neighbors was well worth it. In fact, it has inspired me to do this. I wanted to create a space where people can come to see various topics related to education here in our city. Please feel free to post your feedback here. I just ask that we are all respectful of each other's views, whether we agree or not. Also, please feel free to share this page with your family and friends. We must all work together for a better Portsmouth education.

06/18/2020

Good afternoon! I want to ask a serious question. Where do you stand on the new push to remove SROs (school resource officers) from schools? Let me tell you where I stand. I am NOT in favor of this. I look at this from both sides of the aisle. My experience in schools leads me to my view. The best thing to do is to ensure that your school district has a clear MOU with the police or sheriffs department that does not allow the SRO to become involved in any issue that does not involve a local, state, or federal law being broken. Let me hear from you!

06/17/2020

Good morning. I just received an email from Portsmouth's Electoral Board that the appeal that was initially scheduled for tomorrow has been rescinded due to lack of supplemental evidence to support the appeal. Several individuals submitted affidavits to support the request to overturn the negative decision made on their signature on my petitions. At this point, I am exploring options to have the courts and the state electoral board involved in the process.

Good afternoon.  I wanted to take some time to offer some clarity as to what happened with my petition signatures and wh...
06/14/2020

Good afternoon. I wanted to take some time to offer some clarity as to what happened with my petition signatures and what the next steps are. As you can see from this breakdown, I had more than enough signatures to be on the ballot. Please note that all pages were not full (2 of them I believe). So here is my next plan of action. I have made notice of appeal for the minimum 8 signatures I need to challenge and get the decision overturned. One thing about me is that I know the work myself and everyone else put into getting signatures and talking to people to help spread the word about this campaign and the effort will not go down in vain.

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Friends, Here is Ted's Tidbit to think about for today. If you are a liaison to a board or organization, should you attend the meetings to know what is going on?
Thank you for speaking last night !
How many people can relate to the story here? I can tell you now that as a school board member, I will make it a top priority for our staff to have the most up to date training on recognizing signs of child abuse. To go along with that, they will know how to properly report the signs of abuse and how to interact with students who have suffered from abuse.
What would you think if Portsmouth Public Schools implemented this policy?
Sergio, I was reading either in the paper or on Facebook the pay scale for Norfolk,Suffolk, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach teachers, and they all seemed to be close except for Virginia Beach which was a bit higher. Any comments and opinions for pay raises for Portsmouth teachers?
Sergio Neal - As a PSB candidate, what is your position on the students’ walkout planned for today in support of gun control? I’m not interested in a discussion on gun control but rather a conversation on what you believe administrators and teachers should do when students walk out.
I have been making an effort to get the Whole School Change program implemented in the school division since May 2015. I saw 7 students getting suspended in April 2015. I went around to the 19 schools and dropped off the booklet, the Whole School Change program in May. By September 24th, 2015, I had 100 signatures on petitions given to the school board members at the school board meeting to implement the Whole School Change program. Nothing was done to bring restorative Justice Practices to the school system to teach students, teachers, and parents how to resolve conflict and learn to repair the harm and restore relationships. What a gift to learn how to stand up for oneself and not be bullied by anyone. See the learning style in action when someone learns by hearing, has a good memory, and can speak to make their point of view supreme. This is what is happening with the school facilities study. The Operations and Maintenance director did not do his duty to keep the schools in good repair. How many schools were torn down in Portsmouth? We have one school become vacant because of staffing issues. Open that school back up. Let's be resourceful and take care of our property. Stop this idea of age of schools. We are a historic city and let's be proud of it. Where is the money coming from? Taxpayers. The 30% who are working hard just to live. Yes, we have to stand together even if it is 10 of us. We can make a difference. I'm ready.
Good you're not wasting any time. Citizens need to know who you are and what you stand for. Never take notoriety for granted because of your dedication to other issues.