Jackson-Via Elementary School

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Jackson-Via - January, 2012

Jackson-Via Elementary School is a fully accredited child-centered school serving approximately 250 students in preschool through grade four. The school was named for two Charlottesville educators, Nannie Cox Jackson, who taught for 46 years, and Betty Davis Via, who was a teacher and principal for 40 years.

The school serves portions of Fry's Spring, Ridge Street, South First Street, and Prospect Avenue, as well as Belmont-Carlton, Willoughby, and Willoughby Townes.[1] The community is comprised largely of single-family homes and apartments. Most students ride a bus to school. The mascot is the jackrabbit. [2]

Jackson-Via - January, 2012
Jackson-Via - January, 2012


Jackson-Via Entry.jpg

Chronic Absenteeism

8.57% of the students in this school were chronically absent in the 2018 - 2019 school year.

According to the VDOE, students who attend school consistently are more likely to succeed. Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing 10 percent or more of the school year, regardless of reason.


Fall Membership by Grade

School Population (June 2011)

  • Enrollment: 244
    • Asian/Pacific Islander: 2.9%
    • Black: 54.9%
    • Hispanic: 15.6%
    • White: 26.2%
    • Unspecified: 0.4%
    • ESL students: 30.4%
    • Gifted students: 12.3%
    • Special Education students: 18.9%
  • Pupil/teacher ratio: 17:1

Per-pupil expenditure

The Department of Education’s annual School Quality Profiles report, which had provided per-student spending at district, state and the federal levels for decades, now publishes data at the individual school level for the first time. The federal Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 requires that states publish annual school-level per-pupil expenditures on their online school report cards, beginning with data for the 2018-2019 school year. At Charlottesville’s six elementary schools, expenditures ranged from $15,687 at Jackson-VA to $16,857 at Clark during the 2018-19 school year; district-wide, the per-pupil expenditure was $15,497 compared to $11,560 statewide.

Charlottesville City Schools spent $17,305 per-pupil at the division level in 2018-2019. The statewide average spending for the same time-frame was $11,560. For the upcoming 2020-2021 year, the division has budgeted spending $18,548 per student.

Excellence. Every Day.

Jackson-Via is known for its welcoming atmosphere and nurturing culture. Meeting the needs of each individual student and providing quality learning experiences are top priorities for the staff. We focus on the development and engagement of students, staff, parents, and our community. Relationships among adults and children support a loving atmosphere where students are challenged to learn and grow as individuals.

The instructional program addresses children’s early childhood development and learning while focusing on and supporting academic achievement in the upper grades. Specialists in Reading, Mathematics, Gifted Education, and English as a Second Language enhance both the overall instructional program and individual student learning.

Jackson-Via’s special education department is home to the city’s elementary programs for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The professionals and support staff specialize in the use of assistive technology, sensory processing challenges, total communication, as well as augmentative and alternative communication, and believe that every child can learn, no matter what challenges they face.

Jackson-Via strives daily to live by our school motto: "Excellence. Every Day."


Students regularly use SMART boards, computers, and more to create and present information and research. The school utilizes WordPress websites and blogs to help students learn about and use the Read/Write Web. Students have explored coding and blogging through an afterschool computer club and class projects.[3]

Some staff and volunteers at Jackson-Via maintain their own blogs and web sites.[4]


Jackson-Via Elementary School takes its name from two eminent Charlottesville educators: Nannie Cox Jackson and Betty Davis Via. The school opened in 1969, as the city’s first elementary school that was planned and built as a desegregated elementary school. In 2008, the students, staff, and the community created a mosaic symbolically representing the arms of the school reaching out to the community.[5]

The idea for Jackson-Via was conceived in October, 1966. The Superintendent of Charlottesville Public Schools, Dr. Edward Rushton, charged a group of teachers and administrators with the responsibility of developing specifications for a school specifically adapted to Charlottesville students. Jackson-Via was originally scheduled to open September of 1969, but because of construction delays, it did not open to receive students until September 8, 1970. Jackson-Via existed as a school with its own staff and students during 1969-70, but they were housed in the Clark and Johnson Schools.[6]

Principals of Jackson-Via School

Digital Scrapbook: Remembering Jackson-Via School[8]

Summer 2022 Updates

Photos and narrative provided by Nancy Lambert and Derek Hartline.

Four framed pictures of students and staff

Ann Brightman, assistant in kindergarten, and colleagues made collages of their students’ school pictures in 1977-78, 1978-79, 1980-81, and 1984-85. When the school first opened, the kindergarten pod was named “Jupiter.” and all the other pods in the school were also named for planets as America had just put the first astronauts on the moon. The pictures hung on the brick wall outside of room 8 nearest to the east courtyard for many years, and the sun faded many of the names. Derek and Debra Hartline were part of the school's beautification committee and restored the collages in February of 2020 out of their love for the school’s history. The integrity of the pictures was preserved and the names of the students were rewritten. The small pictures were placed in new frames with plexiglass to minimize weight and ensure safety. These framed photos are now housed on the stacks in the Jackson-Via library/media center. Many parents and guests who attend functions at the school pause and look back at the history of Jackson-Via through its students and staff. “Once a Jackrabbit, always a Jackrabbit!”

Photos of Staff and Students

Group photos were taken periodically over the school years. The collection of eight photos gives a glimpse of the many amazing staff members over the decades who were integral in educating so many students on the South side of Charlottesville. Derek Hartline and Nancy Lambert framed the photos as one collection to showcase the amazing legacy these staff left for years to come. The collection of staff photos is also housed in the Jackson-Via library/media center with the class pictures. "Credits for the photos are Lifetouch, Michael Bailey (bottom center), and Tracie Daniels (bottom right)."

Collection of eight photos

Collage of photos taken in 1994-95

Pictured are: Valeta Paige, Principal; Nancy Lambert, Instructional Coordinator; Lelia Brown, Guidance Counselor; Pat Bernard, Speech Pathologist; Betty Harding, Fourth Grade Teacher; Pat Pitts, Physical Education Teacher; Chris Redd, Music Teacher.

The collage shows educators who have many years of experience teaching in the city schools, especially at Jackson-Via The music teacher was a Johnson, Buford, and CHS graduate before working at Jackson-Via

Collection of eight photos

Four play areas are in back of the school

The pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and LEAP (Life Skills Education and Adapted Curriculum Program) students play in a fenced area with a padded foundation. This allows for a safe cushion when falls occur and provides adaptive equipment so that students with disabilities can participate with their peers in a least restrictive environment This playground is closest to the large evergreen trees that line the school’s boundary as it backs up to the Foodlion Shopping Center that opened in the mid-80's.

Fenced play area for prekindergarten, kindergarten, and LEAP
Play area nearest the Jackson-Via Nature Trail

The playground closest to the Jackson-Via Nature Trail consists of six swings and one large play unit that has many entrances and slides to promote physical growth. This playground is suitable for students in pre-kindergarten through first grade. Within its concrete rectangular base it has wood chips to help cushion the falls that occur. This play area has been replaced twice in the last twenty years and has the most up to date safety equipment.

Play area near the Jackson-Via Nature Trail
Play area outside the third grade pod

Outside the third grade pod are the play structures for the second, third, and fourth grade students. Within its wooden beam square base it has wood chips to help cushion the falls that occur. This play area has been replaced on three different occasions in the last twenty years and has up-to-date safety equipment.

Play area outside third grade pod
Painted map

Derek Hartline repainted the map of the United States on the blacktop in 2019. The map sits right outside the newly designed fourth grade pod downstairs. Most days one can find the pre-kindergarten students riding their tricycles and older students organizing themselves into kickball teams or tossing balls into basketball hoops.

Painted map

City Schoolyard Garden

The city schoolyard garden is planted, tended and maintained by students and staff. Each of the nine schools in the city has a garden that provides fresh produce that the students help to grow. They get to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Vegetables and flowers are grown in a fenced and gated area. Outdoor learning lessons are taught to students in grades prekindergarten through fourth grade.

The garden shed stores garden equipment and has mosaic tile murals that Ms. Eileen Butler, former art teacher, created with her students prior to her retirement. Mr. Hartline, supports Ms. Sarah, the garden coordinator for Jackson-Via, by weed eating and cutting the grass during the summer months.

Renovations downstairs

Jackson-Via was targeted for a million dollar renovation in 2019. The majority of that sum was used for upgrading technology and remodeling the downstairs classrooms and commons area. Each of the grade levels got new furniture, a coat of white paint on the existing brick walls and gray trim on the classroom doors.

New tile flooring adorns the four classrooms in the fourth grade area downstairs. Wooden student storage lockers were installed in the classrooms because adequate storage had not been available for the last 50 years.

New deeper sinks and metallic flecked countertops were installed in the commons areas and a different shade of the pod color offsets the main pod color to contrast the color scheme in each area.

The auditorium’s sunken seating configuration was filled in with concrete to bring it level so the auditorium can now accommodate all students. The space is now a traditional one level floor that provides more opportunities for rearranging the chairs. The staff meetings are now held in this space as it accommodates more staff than the library can.

Color scheme for identifying the pods

Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten - Purple, 1st grade - blue, 2nd grade - orange, 3rd grade - yellow, 4th grade - mint green, Office area - maroon.

Pods are now identified by different colored tangrams. The interactive feature of the magnetic shapes allows for classes to make designs. They allow for creative ideas to be completed outside the classrooms. The tangrams match the color scheme in each pod so locating areas in the building is easily recognizable with warm or soft colors.

Library/Media Center

The library/media center has new furniture and serves as a meeting place for classes of students. The library also has many new books and has been set up for different activities, read alouds, quiet time, and small group interaction.

Library/Media Center

Serving line

For many years, school meals were prepared at Charlottesville High School and brought in storage containers to Jackson-Via. Pre-packed lunches were taken to the classrooms where students were served. The original teachers' lounge was converted into a serving line. Students now pass through the serving line and pick up their breakfasts and lunches. Some food is prepared on site while some is still prepared at the high school. This serving area is centrally located between the office and open library.

Serving Line

School safety during COVID

In an attempt to stay safe and be well, students are reminded to socially distance themselves, cover their mouths and noses, and wash their hands! Each school was provided signage in the fall of 2020 that highlighted the mascot in each building. At Jackson-Via, we are Jackrabbits!

Stay Safe
Jackrabbit Crossing

Spring 2022 Memories

Nancy Lambert received the President's Volunteer Service Award at the June 2022 JABA volunteer award ceremony held at The Center at Belvedere.

Nancy Lambert at Award Ceremony

Retirees from Jackson-Via celebrated Mrs. Mona Spinner's retirement June 2022 at Ann Brightman's house.

Others in attendance were Betty Harding, Paula Dunsmore, Eileen Akers, Elaine Farrington, Jodie Stevens, Portland Smith, and Mozell Booker.

Spring 2021 Memories

Many retired friends recognized and celebrated Mrs. Utz, Mrs. Smith, and Ms. Dix's friendship and retirement at Mrs. Ann Brightman's home on June 15, 2021.

Mrs. Lisa Utz, Mrs. Portland Johnson Smith, and Ms. Martha (Moss) Dix retired in June 2021. They were honored for their dedicated service by the staff at Jackson-Via School at Firefly on June 3, 2021.

Fall 2018 - Spring 2019 Memories

Jackson-Via Luncheon Honoring Mrs. Valeta C. Paige upon her Retirement, at Mrs. Ann Brightman's home, June 27, 2019

Congratulations to Caris, recipient of the 2019 Nancy Lambert Award,

2019 Nancy Lambert Award Recipient Caris and Mrs. Nancy Lambert

and to Leyly and Angelica for being very cooperative fourth grade graduates!

Leyly, Angelica, and Mrs. Nancy Lambert

Fall 2017 - Spring 2018 Memories

Friends of Jackson-Via School enjoyed another lunch at Shadwells Restaurant on Thursday, July 19, 2018.

Our best wishes to Mrs. Harriet (Holly) Phelps who retired in 2018. Her children attended Jackson-Via School where she began volunteering in 1988. She joined the staff in 1992. That is a lot of fond memories for Mrs. Phelps and her longtime friends and colleagues. Pictured here are Mrs. Karyl Reynolds, Mrs. Holly Phelps and Mrs. Amanda Sherriff.


Congratulations to Nyomi, 2018 recipient of the Nancy Brooks Lambert Award and Fatima, recipient of special recognition by Mrs. Lambert.


Fall 2016 - Spring 2017 Memories

Farewell to 2017 retiree Eileen Akers. Eileen taught the primary grades at Jackson-Via School from 1979 until she retired in 2017. We will miss you!

Eileen Akers

Congratulations to Margaret (Maggie), 2017 recipient of the Nancy Brooks Lambert Award.


Retired and current educators met on April 6, 2017, at the Timberwood Taphouse at Fifth Street Station.

Summer 2016 Memories

Retired and current educators met on June 10, 2016, at Shadwell's Restaurant to enjoy lunch, exchange updates, and reminisce.Those attending were Nancy Lambert, Holly Phelps, Karyl Reynolds, Molly Dunsmore, Paula Dunsmore, Harri Wasch, Ruth Kastenmayer, Lisa Utz, Lelia Brown, Loretta Kidd, Gail Coleman, Laura Barnett, and Jackie Weaver.

Fall 2015 - Spring 2016 Memories

Farewell to 2016 retirees Alonzo Williams and Sharon McCurdy. We will miss you!

Alonzo Williams
Sharon McCurdy

Congratulations to Jamonnie, 2016 recipient of the Nancy Brooks Lambert Award.


At Jackson-Via birds of ALL feathers flock together.

ESL classroom door decorated for Dr. Seuss – Read Across America – March 2014

Students, teachers, parents, volunteers, and friends enjoyed an Hour of Code for the closing meeting of the Fall 2015 JV Computer Club on November 30, 2015.

2015 Hour of Code. Teacher Bonnie Yoder discussing coding for kids with CCS School Board member Juandiego R. Wade

The Jackson-Via Computer Club was featured in the December 2015 issue of Charlottesville Family.[9]

Summer 2015 Memories

Retired and current educators met on June 12, 2015, at Shadwell's Restaurant to enjoy lunch, exchange updates, and reminisce.Those attending were Paula Johnson, Holly Phelps, Jackie Weaver, Nancy Lambert, Brenda Trevillian, Mary Wynne, Michelle Rosser, Ruth Kastenmayer, Paula Garrett, Betty Harding, Ann Brightman, Gail Coleman, Lisa Utz, Loretta Kidd, Cindy Bryant, Karyl Reynolds, Paula Dunsmore, and Harri Wasch.

2015 Lunch at Shadwell's.

Many current and former Jackson-Via educators attended the funeral service for Frauline Brackett Johnson on Friday, June 5, 2015.


Fall 2014 - Spring 2015 Memories

Congratulations to Maria, 2015 recipient of the Nancy Brooks Lambert Award.

Nancy and Maria

The JV Computer Club met for eight sessions in Fall 2014 and explored programming with Scratch. A highlight was participation in the 2014 Hour of Code.

Summer 2014 Memories

Retired and current educators met on July 10, 2014, at Sam's Kitchen to have lunch, exchange updates, and assemble more materials for this "Remembering Jackson-Via School" digital scrapbook.

Fall 2013 - Spring 2014 Memories

Dr. Seuss – Read Across America – March 2014

Read Across America week has proven to be very exciting for our ESL students. We created our colorful door based on the story of Big Al. We included the motto,

"We may all be different fish, but in this school we swim together."

How appropriate for students representing many countries!

ESL Door, Photo by Nancy Lambert.
Wall next to ESL door.

From there we read books (both fiction and nonfiction) about fish, had guided reading lessons based on fish, sang songs, learned new vocabulary, looked at many pictures, held a porcupine fish, and even created reports from graphic organizers about our favorite fish. Some words the children used to describe the activities throughout the week were enjoyable, awesome, and creative!!!!

- Lisa Utz, Jackson-Via Elementary School ESL Teacher

View slideshow of other classroom doors decorated for Read Across America.

Fall 2012 - Spring 2013 Memories

Fall 2011 - Spring 2012 Memories

Fall 2008 - Spring 2011 Memories

SMART Kidd Zone: Early Learning Exploratory Center created and managed by Loretta Kidd - March, 2010.
Smart Kidd Zone sign created by Eileen Butler.
Jackson-Via Computer Club, Spring 2009. Nancy Lambert, Dave Norris, and Ruth Kastenmayer are pictured with students who posted illustrated reflective writing about poverty and homelessness.

Fall 2005 - Spring 2008 Memories

Mrs. Eileen Butler and Mrs. Adriane Butler worked with "Ambassadors" in fourth grade. They made flags and celebrated the opening of Field Day at Jackson-Via in 2006.

2001-2003 Memories

Fall, 2003. Boar's Head Hot Air Balloon. Staff went on tethered rides. ElizaBeth McCay, Principal: "The Sky's the Limit."
Fall, 2003. Staff is launching red ballons. ElizaBeth McCay, Principal: "The Sky's the Limit."
The date on the picture is spring, 2003. It was taken by Michael Bailey, a parent and professional photographer. The photograph was a gift for the school and Valeta Paige, the principal.
Picture on front of The Observer, August 15, 2001.

1996-2000 Memories - Year-Round Education Program

Charlottesville Daily Progress, June 3, 1998
Collage of Kindergarten and first grade memories by Mrs. Jenny Holder and Mrs. Walter.
Collage of kindergarten memories by Mrs. Jenny Holder and Mrs. Walter.

1990-1996 Memories - Jackson-Via Book Factory

Jackson-Via Staff, 1993-94.

Collaboration: Jackson-Via/UVa School of Education

UVa/Jackson-Via Team Planning.

1988-1990 Memories

Celebration of School Lunch Week. T-shirts say: "Students are Special."Front: Mozell Booker, Principal; Camille Falwell, Food Service Manager; Levinia Craddock, Instructional Assistant. Back: Nancy Lambert, Instructional Coordinator; Delores Rankins, Instructional Assistant; Alonzo Williams, Head Custodian; Jackie Gaines Martin, Secretary.
Bunny Bits, 1990; Jeanne Siler, Editor.
Bunny Bits, A Newsletter of the Jackson-Via PTO, Jeanne Siler Interviews Mrs. Nancy Lambert
Jackson-Via Staff, early 1990s.

Change, Challenge, Opportunity

Mozell Booker, Principal - 1988 Jackson-Via Annual Report, page 14.
Field Trip to Montpelier in 1988.
1988 Jackson-Via Annual Report, page 15.

1980-1987 Memories

1970-1976 Memories

1957 Aerial View of Site

Courtesy Steve Trumbull. Retrieved 2/24/12, from the University of Virginia, Geospatial and Statistical Data Center.

Original Home on Site

Jeanne Fournier's Home on site of present day Jackson-Via School, photo courtesy of Jeanne Fournier.
Jeanne Fournier's Home on site of present day Jackson-Via School, photo courtesy of Jeanne Fournier.
Home on site of present day Jackson-Via School. Photo (ca. 1900), photo courtesy of Jeanne Fournier.

External Links


  1. Web. Map of Charlottesville City School Attendance Zones, Charlottesville City Schools, retrieved January 22, 2012.
  2. Web. About Jackson-Via Elementary, retrieved January 23, 2012.
  3. Web. Local School Profile 2011:Jackson-Via Elementary School, Charlottesville City Schools, retrieved January 14, 2012.
  4. Web. Classroom Web Portals, Charlottesville City Schools, retrieved 9 JAN 2012.
  5. Web. Local School Profile 2011:Jackson-Via Elementary School, Charlottesville City Schools, retrieved January 22, 2012.
  6. Web. About Jackson-Via Elementary, Charlottesville City Schools, retrieved 20 Aug 2009.
  7. Web. About Jackson-Via Elementary, Charlottesville City Schools, retrieved 19 March 2018.
  8. Memorabilia assembled and curated by Nancy Lambert, former Instructional Coordinator, Jackson-Via Elementary School, with the help ofDerek Hartline Jerry White, Joyce Murray, Valeta Paige, Eileen Butler, Jeanne Fournier, Steve Trumbull, and Ruth Kastenmayer.
  9. [http://issuu.com/ivypublications/docs/charlottesvillefamily_december_2015/56 Charlottesville Family, retrieved January 18, 2016.