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Office of Public Relations and Communications

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The Virgin Islands Department of Education’s Office of Public Relations and Communications exists to heighten the public’s awareness of the Department’s mission to ensure that all students are prepared for college or the career of their choice upon graduation from high school.

In support of the mission, the Public Relations Office provides publicity for events, activities and the many successes of the Department’s schools, students, teachers, employees and leadership through internal and external communication.

The Office of Public Relations and Communication, through an integrated marketing communications approach services the marketing, branding, public, and media relations, advertising and graphic design needs of the Department, districts, and schools.

The Public Relations Office reports directly to the Commissioner of Education.


Battle of the bands

Deploying every weapon in their arsenal – from a steel pan pit-percussion crew to a mini-Carnival show – the Charlotte Amalie High School’s Marching Hawks picked up their third “Battle of the Bands” title Saturday in front of a standing-room-only crowd at the University of the Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center.

The brainchild of Kean High’s Band Director Dionne Donadelle, the annual competition is not only meant to show off the talent of each powerhouse band, but to really spark student interest in music. Proceeds raised from the event fund a $1,000 scholarship offered at each high school in honor of Karence deCosta, who died tragically in 2009 on the night of her graduation from Charlotte Amalie High School. The scholarship is offered to one graduating senior from each high school.
The competition – now in its third year -- is divided into three parts: a floor show (featuring everyone from the band to the school’s flag team and cheerleaders), a back and forth battle between the two marching bands, and finally, a face off between each school’s drumline.
CAHS’ Marching Hawks, led by Director Georgia Francis, had been practicing for the event since January and in the past few weeks, primarily focused on tightening its sound. Francis also recently said that as the competition has continued to evolve, so has her overall routine, incorporating everyone one from the school’s flag team to the cheerleaders, who appeared on the gym floor Saturday clad in gold and blue masks.
“I think with us, people have come to expect great sound,” Francis added. “That’s what sets us apart. I’ve always been a stickler for the details and that’s why the performances are able to flow as well as they do. That’s my signature – period.”
While CAHS’ performance had more V.I. flair, Kean High’s Dynamite Rays focused more on precision and technique, balancing out their music with intricate routines that criss-crossed the gym floor.
Recently describing herself as a modernist, Band Director Donadelle says she tries to offer more of the creativity and sound found at college level band shows, and that was evident Saturday as Kean dazzled with a routine that pulled the marching band, flag team and dancers together in perfect synchronicity. From their matching sunglasses to their spirited chants, the Dynamite Rays had the crowd going throughout and also earned high marks from the judges.
While generally thought of as the ultimate competition between the two rival bands, many in the audience Saturday commented that the event actually pulled the two schools – and the community – together.
“The entire event was reflective of both the depth of talent that we have in the community, and indicative of the support that we all provide to support and encourage our young people,” Gov. John deJongh Jr. said after the performances. “These types of events are good for our community and give us the satisfaction we need as we continue to support each other.”
April 2, 2012
Contact: Anthony Mills                                                                               Contact: Ananta Pancham
Public Relations Specialist                                                                     Public Relations Director                                                                                   


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USDE Approves VIDE’s Plan to Spend $138 Million in American Rescue Act Grant Funding to Support Ongoing Pandemic Recovery, Student Success

U.S. Department of Education Approves VIDE’s Plan to Spend $138 Million in American Rescue Act Grant Funding to Support Ongoing Pandemic Recovery, Student Success

In a two-page letter dated November 23 and addressed to Commissioner Racquel Berry-Benjamin, U.S. Department of Education (USDE) Secretary Miguel Cardona wrote that he is “pleased to approve the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Education’s (VIDE) American Rescue Plan-Outlying Area State Educational Agency (ARP-OA SEA) Implementation plan, which “will help ensure that schools in the U.S. Virgin Islands can continue to reopen safely; support sustained access to in-person instruction throughout the summer and into next school year; and address the social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs of students due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), particularly those students most impacted by the pandemic.” 

Cardona offered Berry-Benjamin his commitment to a timely release of the funds. 

“The Department is committed to working in partnership with VIDE so that your ARP-OA SEA funds are quickly put to work to ensure students have sustained access to in-person instruction, as well as the comprehensive supports they need to recover fully from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “As you implement this plan, we expect you to continue meaningfully engaging with stakeholders and the public and revising your plan, as necessary, to best meet the needs of students, parents, and educators.” 

Berry-Benjamin said the approval of VIDE’s 56-page ARP-OA SEA Implementation plan is a significant step forward in the Department’s commitment to large-scale transformation of the Territory’s public education system. 

“The Virgin Islands Department of Education is deeply appreciative to our partners in Congress and education at the USDE for generously making available funding that has allowed us to safely continue teaching and learning during the pandemic,” she said. “We intend to use these funds solely for the benefit and overall well-being of students, and to further establish an effective, 21st century public education system that meets the needs of all Virgin Islands students.” 

While Cardona praised the VIDE’s ARP-OA SEA Implementation plan, saying it is “consistent with all ARP-OA SEA grant terms and conditions,” he cautioned approval does not determine that all information included in the plan “complies with Federal civil rights requirements, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.” He pointed out that “it is VIDE’s responsibility to comply with these civil rights requirements.” 

In closing, Secretary Cardona wrote, “Ongoing engagement with all stakeholders is vital to ensuring that implementation of your plan is transparent, effective, equitable, inclusive, and best meets the needs of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The thoughtful, evidence-based, and timely use of ARP-OA SEA funds will have a lasting impact on our Nation’s schools and help to address the inequities in resources, services, and opportunities available to our students.” 

Cardona’s letter, along with VIDE’s approved ARP-OA SEA Implementation plan, is posted on the U.S. Department of Education’s website.  

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act I and II funding in the amount of $73 million was previously made available to the VIDE at the height of the pandemic in 2020. 

The Bryan-Roach Administration is investing in the Territory’s people, infrastructure, and future through transparency, stabilizing the economy, restoring trust in the government, and ensuring that recovery projects are completed as quickly as possible. Visit    


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