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March's BuzzPosted by Nadira Presley on 3/9/2022
A Message From Nadira Presley, Student Support Liaison
Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.”- Malala Yousafzai
As we enter into March 2022, think of each small step you take towards accomplishing your goal(s) as a giant leap into your future. Some of us are excelling in our academics, while others may have drifted off. No matter the circumstances, I want you to know that you can finish your courses successfully.
The Student Support Liaisons and Student Support Team hopes you realize we are here for you, and we are cheering you on.
My parting words to you are, “Every task, goal, race, or year comes to an end……...therefore make it a habit to always finish strong.”
Olympic Spirit at BVA
Flags from all over the world hung in the BVA office during the Winter Olympics. Can you name all the countries in the pictures?
Women's History Month
March is Women’s History Month. Throughout all of history, women have left an impact that has inspired later generations. On page two, The Buzz gives the spotlight to three American women who have left their mark on history. Sacagawea, Maya Angelou and Hedy Lamar all achieved greatness and recognition in their respective time periods.
St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day is an Irish holiday that was first celebrated over 1,000 years ago! The Irish saint is attributed to bringing Christianity to Ireland. This holiday is observed on March 17 every year to honor St. Patrick and the arrival of Christianity to Ireland. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in New York City. Homesick Irish soldiers in the British army held a parade to honor the saint. This blossomed into smaller parades happening every March 17th until 1848 when all the smaller parades united to form one massive St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York City.
Historical Women Throughout the Years
Sacagawea: Guide to the New Frontier
Born in what is now modern day Idaho within the Shoshone tribe, Sacagawea became an essential part of Lewis and Clark’s expedition westward. Sacagawea, as well as her husband and newborn baby, traveled with Lewis and Clark as she worked as their guide and translator. With knowledge of the land, Sacagawea guided the expedition party through the tough terrain and along the Missouri River. She advised Lewis and Clark on what plants to eat, where to camp during the winter and which path to take when encountering a fork in the road. Lastly, Sacagawea’s presence encouraged friendly negotiations and trade with other Native American tribes.
Hedy Lamarr: Talented Actress and Inventor
The multi-talented Hedy Lamarr left her mark on history as a famous actress and inventor. As an only child growing up in Austria, Lamarr inherited her passion for machines from her father, even as her mother enrolled her in ballet and piano classes. The classes led Lamarr to acting school, which quickly evolved into her earning roles in German films. After an unsuccessful marriage, Lamarr moved to America where she continued starring in more films, while also meeting many historic inventors. Hedy Lamarr would work with these individuals to develop a faster airplane as well as a key component in the discovery of Wi-Fi.
Maya Angelou: Inspirational Poet and Writer
Maya Angelou’s trailblazing work has inspired and impacted generations. After a traumatic event in her childhood, the St. Louis native did not speak for five years. A teacher named Mrs. Flowers encouraged Angelou to speak again by instilling a love of poetry into the 12-year-old girl. In her adult life, Maya Angelou worked for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcom X, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. Her autobiography, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, used innovative writing techniques that earned the book national acclaim. Maya Angelou would later go on to write many more autobiographies, poems, children’s books, screenplays and Bill Clinton’s inaugural poem.
Kamala Harris: Modern Day Pioneer
Kamala Harris was born in Oakland, California to immigrant parents. Although her parents divorced when she was a young girl, Kamala Harris’ Indian-born mother would still take time to connect Kamala and her sister to their African- American roots. This involved going to Civil Rights movements and later attending a HBCU (historically black college or university). Early in her political career, Harris became the first African American and first woman to serve as California’s Attorney General. Following that, she became the second African- American woman to become a senator. Presently, Kamala Harris is the Vice President of the United States and the first woman to hold that title.
References and Educational Links
February's BuzzPosted by Nadira Presley on 2/9/2022
A Message From Our Operations Manager, Mr. Kevin Ballisty To BVA Students And Families
Hi Students! We are so glad you are back for another great semester! I am your Operations Manager, Mr. Ballisty. I work behind the scenes here at BVA, and with the rest of your support systems, to help make your online journey a positive one. I make sure you can access your courses, receive workbooks or novels, laptops, fix course glitches, just to name a few. I want everything to run as smoothly as possible for you, you have enough to focus on! So, if you ever need a book or other materials for courses, or if your course platform is glitching, make sure to let your Student Advisor know so that I can help resolve those issues as soon as I can.
Great job with Fall Semester everyone!
During Black History Month, We Recognize Trailblazers and Leaders Now and Throughout History
February is Black History Month, and the story of Black Americans is one of triumph. Through hardship came strength; through strength came unity. As we reflect on our history, we acknowledge that we have made progress, however as a nation, we also acknowledge there is still more work to be done to achieve equity. We know of icons and leaders like Thurgood Marshall, Rosa Parks, and Dr. Martin Luther King, but there are so many other names to learn; names who have changed all our lives, not just Black lives. Black history is American history, and our diversity is our strength.
Written by: Rachael Williams
Speaking Of Trailblazers, In 2008, Barack Obama Became The First Black President of The Unites States
Barack Obama, born in 1961 in Hawaii, raised by both his Grandmother and Mother, mostly separately, at various times throughout his childhood. Both instilled in Obama the importance of education as well as developing and maintaining a strong work ethic.
Historical Black Figures: Changing The Nation
Robert Smalls 1839- 1915
Robert Smalls and a small crew of slaves stole a Confederate war ship with useful supplies and brought the ship to the Union, freeing himself, his family, and sixteen others. After a successful and legendary escape, Smalls became one of the first African American pilots in the U.S Navy. When the Civil War was over, he became a businessman. Later, he served in both Houses of South Carolina legislature. Robert Smalls was a Civil War hero and much more. He should always be remembered as such.
Lewis Latimer 1848- 1928
Son to fugitive slaves, Lewis Latimer learned mechanical drawing in the Union Navy and later worked at a patent firm. After impressing the firm, Latimer was given his own office where he would develop many inventions including an improved railroad car bathroom and an early air conditioning unit. Later in life, Latimer would work with Alexander Graham Bell on the patents for Bell's telephone. Latimer also helped Thomas Edison make the lightbulb cheaper and more efficient.
Written by: BVA Student Faith Rosario
Achieving the American Dream, Barack Obama went from middle class Hawaiian to President of the United States of America. Before becoming president, Obama had to work hard which first led him to graduating from Harvard University. After college, Obama worked on registering tens of thousands of African Americans from Chicago to vote. With continued hard work, Obama would be elected to the Illinois senate in 1996. Eight years later, Obama would become a US senator. With great speeches that inspired hope, Barack Obama won America over and became the 44th president of the United States in 2008. Barack Obama would serve two terms as president.
References and Links for Further Reading
January's BuzzPosted by Nadira Presley on 1/12/2022
A Note from Dr. George F. Fiore, Executive Director, Chester County Intermediate Unit, to You and Your Families
Happy New Year, BVA! The start of a new year brings a mix of emotions. You may be feeling confident and positive about the chance of a fresh start, or you may be feeling anxious or nervous about what is to come. I know that sometimes new things can be scary, but it is times like this when we learn and we grow as individuals. Instead of feeling worried about a new start, I challenge you to embrace the new year with a sense of optimism and hope. I have some tips that may assist all of us in making 2022 a positive experience.
When you are encountering a new situation, I encourage you to ask questions. A good line of thinking that I like to remind myself is to be curious! When you are learning a new concept or encountering a new situation, I have found that the more curious I am the faster I learn and acclimate. Asking questions not only supports you, but also helps those answering your questions. Staying curious is a great way for everyone to grow together.
In March 2020, we all encountered a situation that was new to us – a pandemic. I had never lived through a pandemic before and most of what I knew about a pandemic was when I was teaching about the Spanish Flu of 1918. Suddenly, I was not just facing Covid-19 as an individual and as a father of three young kids, but also as a leader. People would look to me for answers I did not have. Instead of running from this challenge, I faced it head on. I asked a lot of questions, and I learned a lot. I also found that people wanted to help me be successful. I feel much more confident in my role now after lots of practice and I am thankful I was and remain curious.
Look for the helpers and for the people who care about you and your ability to succeed and I know you will make 2022 your best year yet!
January 3rd: International Mind-Body Wellness Day
Everyone talks about the importance of self-care, but did you know that there is a whole day dedicated to it? We did not either but are so glad we found out! Selfcare is easier said than done, and besides, who has the time? Why not challenge yourselves, as you start the new year, to make that time? The "WELL Method" might help you find your starting point. Recognize that we need to make conscious efforts to find a work-life balance, expect excellence of yourself, live your purpose, and practice love rather than fear. You matter the most! Challenge yourself to make YOU a priority and as Dr. Fiore said, ask how to do so if you are uncertain. Reach out to someone when you need to talk and set aside some time to just be you! Finish that puzzle, take that hike, read the books on your list, start painting! Whatever you enjoy, make the time to do it, and remember to BE WELL!
January 17th: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Every third Monday in January, we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. King was an advocate for engaging in nonviolent protests to end racial segregation. In 1963, the Baptist Minister led the March on Washington where he gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech in front of 250,000 people. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, making him the youngest person to receive such honor at age 35. After King's assassination in 1969, King's wife, Corretta Scott King continued the fight she and her husband started and founded Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Nonviolent Social Change.
References and Links for Further Reading
December's BuzzPosted by Nadira Presley on 12/10/2021
A Note from Ms. Mary Curley, Director of Communications,
Chester County Intermediate Unit, to You and Your Families
This is one of my most favorite times of the year! It is a time for gathering with family and friends. It is a time for looking back and looking forward. It is a time when we can still change the direction in which we are headed to make sure we are successful. It is a time when we can celebrate all that we have accomplished.
It is also a time to give thanks. I am so very thankful for the hard work of our students and staff. This past year has been hard. In many ways, it was harder than last year. Students and staff had to learn new ways to learn and new ways to teach. Again, we had to find our inner strength to keep going during a really tough time.
I am so very proud of everyone. Through it all, you have been able to focus on learning. You have accepted every challenge and now deserve a well-earned break.
Wishing you and your family a wonderful winter break filled with laughter, love and good health!
Happy "Pawlidays" from Ms. Curley
and her pups, Jack & Fiona
December 2nd: Special Education Awareness Day
From Legal Expulsion Due to a Disability or Differing Ability to Inclusivity:
The Journey of Special Education and Fight for Equal Opportunity
From 1893 to now, The United States has made great strides in providing support for those with disabilities or differing abilities in public schools. Whereas it was once argued in a Massachusetts Supreme Court that a school was legally able to expel a student who was "weak in mind", we are fortunate for those who fought to introduce and pass laws that protect all students and the fundamental right to equal education. We have certainly come a long way, although there is always work to be done. As we continue to ensure we are not only upholding the current laws, we must also keep working to improve them and implement them consistently. Learn about the history of Special Education in our country!
All Work and Some Play Here at BVA!
Although we work hard here at BVA, we do like to have
a little fun now and again! While decorating our areas for the upcoming contest, we decided to wrap
our Operation Manager's desk! We had a great
time and he loved it!
The road to success starts with the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU)! The CCIU offers Driver Education and Testing Services for both high school students and community members in the Chester County region and beyond!
To schedule an appointment or to learn more about our Driver Education Centers, visit drive.cciu.org.
Congratulations, BVA Students of the Quarter
and Students of the Month!
December Holidays and Fun Facts
• Hanukkah 2021 begins on November 28th and ends on December 6th
• Hanukkah means "dedication" in Hebrew
• Many Hanukkah dishes are fried to symbolize the miracle oil that
burned for eight days straight
• Harry Truman was the first President to celebrate Hanukkah at The
• The dreidel was created as a distraction so that the Greek-Syrians did not
see the Jewish folk engaging with their scriptures
• Over 17.5 million jelly doughnuts are consumed in Israel throughout the
holiday of Hanukkah
• Hanukkah changes dates throughout each year. Sometimes it can even
align with Thanksgiving
• Hanukkah was not originally a holiday for giving gifts; it only became a
tradition when Christmas gift-giving became more popular
• In 1993, Astronaut Jeff Hoffman celebrated Hanukkah in space
• The Torah, the book of Jewish beliefs, does not mention Hanukkah
• Christmas Day, December 25th, is a day that Christians celebrate
the birth of Jesus Christ, although nobody really knows when exactly
Christ was born as this is not mentioned in the Bible. Some say the
Pope determined this date
• Coca-Cola ads helped create the image of Santa Claus being a
jolly old man wearing all red
• In Ukraine, finding a spider in a spider web on Christmas is a sign of
• In Japan, it is tradition to go to KFC for Christmas dinner
• Christmas trees were first used by ancient Egyptians and Romans
• Kwanzaa begins on December 26th and ends on January 1st
• Kwanzaa was founded by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966
• Kwanzaa is a celebration of harvesting the first fruits of the season
• During each night of Kwanzaa, a candle is lit. Each candle has
a different meaning
New Year's Eve
• New Year's Eve is celebrated on December 31st
• While people in New York watch the ball drop at midnight, people
in Vincennes, Indiana watch watermelons drop from up high!
• In Denmark, citizens smash plates on their friends' doorsteps to bring
• In Romania, citizens dress as bears during New Year's Eve to
chase away the evil spirits
• In Japan, bells are rung exactly 108 times during the New Year's celebration
• In Johannesburg, South Africa, citizens celebrate the New Year by
throwing old furniture out windows
• A common South American tradition during New Year's is to walk around
with an empty suitcase. The "Suitcase Walk" is the first step in having
a year full of new adventures!
• Bodhi Day is a Buddhist Holiday meaning "enlightenment" or
"awakening". It is celebrated on December 8th by all Buddhists
over the world
• Yule is a celebration of the Winter Solstice, which occurs on December 21st, the longest day of the year. It symbolizes the sun's "journey back to Earth"
in anticipation of Spring
And for the Rest of Us...
• Popularized by the show, "Seinfeld", Festivus has taken on quite the life of its own!
• It is celebrated on December 23rd
• An aluminum pole is the symbol of Festivus. The idea to symbolize
the holiday with a simple pole was born out of exhaustion from the
"commercialization of Christmas"
• "The Airing of Grievances" is a Festivus tradition that involves letting
everyone knows all the various ways in which they have been disappointed,
each other over the past year
• "The Feats of Strength" is a physical match between two people, and it is
not over until one is pinned to the ground
• You can buy a Festivus Pole! "Wagner Cos. of Milwaukee began selling
Festivus Poles several years ago as a bit of a joke. But the railings
manufacturing company has sold more than 7,000 poles so far"
• Festivus dates back to 1966. Writer Dan O'Keefe celebrated it first with his
family. His son, Daniel O'Keefe made Festivus a household name by
becoming a writer on Seinfeld, thus introducing Festivus to the world
• Perhaps most interestingly, Florida recognizes Festivus as an actual holiday,
and there is a Festivus display in the rotunda of the State's Capitol!
BVA Wishes You and Yours a Wonderful Winter Break Filled with
Health and Happiness!
November's BuzzPosted by Haley Taylor on 11/18/2021
A Message of Gratitude from Dr. Mark Slider, Your BVA Supervisor of Online Learning
I keep a pumpkin on my desk that says, "Give Thanks" and I keep a saying on my office wall that says, "Simply Blessed."
These items in my office are so much more than decor. They speak to who I am and what I believe in every day. We all have our moments, and when I am having one of my "moments," it is great to look at these two reminders in my workspace. It is hard to stay in a negative state of mind when we focus on what we are grateful for and for all the blessings we have in our lives. Being reflecting on what we have shifts the focus away from what we do not have or wish we had.
As a child, I grew up very poor and we did not have much at all. Life was very difficult. It was not uncommon to have our electric shut off, or our phone service disconnected, etc. Life was filled with many challenges, and yet, my parents always reminded me of the things I have and what I should be grateful for. These challenges in life created and cultivated a strong resilience and positivity within me, and it was those experiences that shaped me into who I am today.
Having an attitude of gratitude, being positive and filled with joy, is not based upon momentary circumstances. It is based upon a mindset and a focus on what we have and what possibilities exist rather than focusing on the challenges we all face. We are all in the process of becoming a better version of ourselves and no one has it all together, no matter how wonderful one's life may appear. We are all on this journey of life together.
I encourage you, especially as we enter this holiday season, to focus on the blessings and to give thanks for all we have. We are growing, we are becoming and we are learning! For all these opportunities, we should give thanks!
On behalf of all my colleagues here at BVA, may you and your loved ones be blessed with a warm and wonderful holiday season!
RaiseMe helps students in grades 9 - 12 to discover colleges and earn scholarships for their academic and extracurricular activities! Students can use the platform to build portfolios of their achievements and begin earning micro-scholarships! Check out more information on RaiseMe Club and join us for our next monthly meeting.
Wednesday, November 17: Education Support Professionals Day
American Education Week happens the week prior to the week of Thanksgiving. Each day of the week has its own theme, during which we celebrate our school community.
Education Support Professionals Day was first celebrated in 1987 after NEA’s Representative Assembly called on the organization to honor the contributions of all school support staff. National ESP Day is observed on Wednesday of American Education Week.
We've seen ESPs go well beyond anything we have seen before as they work to meet the needs of our school communities, in the midst of a pandemic. Help us to honor and advocate for the ESPs who continue keeping students safe, healthy, and ready to learn by letting us know how they have helped you!
By: National Education Association
"The Citadel Heart of Learning Award is one of our longest-standing initiatives. We started the program 20 years ago in partnership with the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU), to recognize local teachers who show dedication in and outside of the classroom." Nominate a teacher today!
October's BuzzPosted by Haley Taylor on 10/20/2021
A Note from the Supervisor of Online Learning
It is hard to believe that it is October already! I hope that each of you are enjoying your experience with Brandywine Virtual Academy! Remember, you are never alone in the journey of online learning. Please contact your Teacher and/or Teaching Assistant with any questions that you have, we're here to support you!
Mr. Chip Harper
Looking for something? Check out the links below for parent and student resources!
September's BuzzPosted by Haley Taylor on 9/15/2021 1:00:00 PM
Thanks to BVA's Teaching Assistants for all Their Hard Work!
“She has provided many opportunities for me to get extra help with work; as well as providing me schedules so that I stay on track with my school work!” ~Mathea Dunn
“Ms. Cellars has consistently pushed me to get my work done. She encourages me and listens to me when I need support, she goes above and beyond to support me and keep me on task. She also has nominated me for a scholarship that I would have never expected, she truly sees the good in her students and does the most to help them succeed. I really can’t express how grateful I am for Ms. Cellars and how much she’s done for me In terms of both my mental well-being and my academic career! ~Violet Noecker
“She helped me with tech issues and with attendance issues!” ~Christopher Doherty
"Ms. Abby has made me feel really important and that I can do anything. She really made me feel special with all her kind words and check-ins. ” ~Dylan Butler
“She was great this year with a lot of help. Much better than the school could've done”
“She was there if I needed help” ~Wyatt Davenport
“Always supporting my virtual learning!” ~Noori Choudhary
“She is the best!” ~Tymire Hollman
“She has been very encouraging this year!” ~Elle McDonald
“She has got me in contact with the right people or those I didn't have the contact information for!” ~Madyson Burkhart
“My Teaching Assistant has been very encouraging this school year!” ~Ayanna Lanoix
"She has always told me how great I'm doing and has always motivated when I don't feel motivated. Mrs. Compher has made me feel at home in the virtual academy and I truly feel that she is amazing." ~Taylor McCoy