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Office of Public Relations and Communications

About Us

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.


Launch of ‘DST Comfort Closet’ at BCB Middle School

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS — The St. Thomas Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., has formally adopted the Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School (BCBMS), which has been the home of the Sorority’s Saturday enrichment, development, and STEAM programs for many years. In the organization’s continued partnership with BCB, and in response to a critical need among students, the St. Thomas Alumnae Chapter will launch the DST Comfort Closet, an on-campus store that will provide students free access to essential hygiene products, clothing items, and school supplies.  


Who:   Virgin Islands Department of Education in partnership with the St. Thomas Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. 



What:  Official adoption of BCB Middle School and launch of DST Comfort Closet 



Where:  Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School 



When:   Tuesday, March 21 at 10:15 a.m. 


**The event will not be livestreamed; we welcome your in-person participation  




Download press release here:  pdf Launch of ‘DST Comfort Closet’ at BCB Middle School (202 KB)

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Abdel Bazzar is 2023 Territorial Spelling Bee Winner

ST. THOMAS, USVI – Following 26 intense rounds of competition, Ricardo Richards Elementary School fifth grader Abdel Bazzar emerged as the winner of the 2023 Territorial Spelling Bee, now in its 50th year. 

His winning word was “realm.” 

“It feels good—really good,” Bazzar said of his win. “It definitely feels very good because apparently, only one other person has ever gone to the national spelling bee from my school.” 

Other than competing virtually in his school’s Spelling Bee two years ago, this is the first year the 10-year-old participated in the full competition—placing in the top six at the district level and going all the way to claim the title of top speller in the Virgin Islands.  

However, Bazzar said he knew he was up against tough contenders for the territorial competition. 

“I was thinking that if Joseph, who won the St. Croix District Bee, and [Naitik] got out, I knew I had it in the bag,” he said. “But if they stayed in, I probably had a chance of losing because they were probably the best ones there.” 

Bazzar said he prepared for the competition by meeting with his coach, Debora Heitzenrater, during the last 30 minutes of each school day, as well as having long study sessions at home. 

“[My coach] would pick the hardest words on each page, and if I spelled them correctly, we would go to the next page,” he explained. “At home, we went through all the pages of words, we kept going and going until we finished all the pages.”  Those pages, Bazzar explained, amounted to a total of about 9,000 words. 

As for his hopes for taking the top spot at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC, this summer, he said, “I definitely need to keep studying and I’m very proud of myself.” 

Nyeema Henderson, winner of the St. Thomas-St. John District Bee, placed second in the territorial competition; and Sinaia Steven, of Claude O. Markoe Elementary School, placed third. 

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Territorial Spelling Bee in the Virgin Islands, beginning in 1974, with only one of those years, 2021, the competition was not held due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“I wish you well,” Assistant Commissioner Victor Somme III told the participants. “We also want to recognize those that came before you, this is our fiftieth year of spelling bee in the Virgin Islands and we really thank our partner in this accomplishment, the Virgin Islands Daily News, they have been with us through thick and thin and they continue to support us as we send each Virgin Islands champion to the nation’s capital to participate in the national bee. This is going to be an exciting competition.” 

The Virgin Islands Daily News has been the official sponsor of the Territorial Spelling Bee since 1985. The news organization will sponsor a six-night stay for two at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md., during the Memorial Day weekend, as Bazzar represents the Virgin Islands in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. 

Bazzar and all participants have received prize packages of electronics, gift certificates, books, and other gifts through the generous support of local and national sponsors. 

Curriculum & Instruction Program Assistant Julie Deterville is the Territorial Spelling Bee coordinator. 



Download press release here:  pdf Abdel Bazzar is 2023 Territorial Spelling Bee Winner (178 KB)

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VIDE, Viya Partner for V.I. History Month Contests Highlighting Emancipation and Built Heritage

ST. CROIX, USVI – The Virgin Islands Department of Education, Division of Virgin Islands Cultural Education, has partnered with Viya to reward students and teachers with electronic devices and free internet service prize packages worth $18,000, for contests being held in celebration of Virgin Islands History Month in March. 

Virgin Islands students are invited to participate in the Built Heritage Challenge, where they must visit a series of historical sites across the territory and take a photo of themselves at the locations. Three winners will be announced in each school district, and they will each win a brand-new Samsung phone or iPhone and one year of free mobile coverage from Viya. Submission deadline is March 31. 

Virgin Islands teachers are invited to participate in the Door/Corridor Challenge, where they are asked to design Emancipation-related décor at their schools and submit photos of the artwork. Three teachers in each district will win a MiFi and a year of free service from Viya. Submission deadline is March 24. 

“We thank Viya for its generous partnership in this unique effort to engage students and teachers in our rich Virgin Islands history and culture,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Dionne Wells-Hedrington. “We know our students and teachers will benefit from the information learned from the contests and from Viya’s commitment to ensuring connectivity in education.” 

Viya’s Vice President of Public Relations and Governmental Affairs Jennifer Matarangas-King stated, “Viya is proud to commemorate Virgin Islands History Month by partnering with the Virgin Islands Department of Education to provide connectivity prizes for VI youth and teachers. Reliable connectivity is a critical tool for education that is used to explore Virgin Islands history and culture. We thought it would be fitting to provide devices that will facilitate students and teachers staying connected to our culture.”  

This year, the Department’s V.I. History Month celebration is placing emphasis on topics surrounding emancipation and post-emancipation with use of the theme, “Emancipation Now, Understanding History, Living the Legacy, and Creating a Just Future for All Ah We,” as 2023 marks the 175th anniversary of the 1848 Emancipation Revolt in the Virgin Islands. Included in the lineup of events are conversations about the Virgin Islands’ legacy after emancipation. Teachers and students will learn more about current issues and historical events related to the 1848 Acts of Equity and how they have affected the lives of Virgin Islanders today.  

Additionally, classroom presentations will be given at schools by the Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) Libraries, Archives, and Museums Division, as well as its Coral Reef Program. University of the Virgin Islands Professor Olsee Davis has delivered a virtual presentation to educators on “The Struggles of the Maroons in the Danish West Indies,” and on March 17, he will lead a hike for educators to Annaly Estate and Bodkin Sugar Mill on St. Croix. Ayana O. Flewellen, co-founder and president of the Society of Black Archeologists, is continuing her work in the Virgin Islands, which began with the Smithsonian’s Slave Wreck Project and her organization's Little Princess Archeology Project, with a workshop planned for March 29. 

The Division of Virgin Islands Cultural Education has previously engaged teachers in professional development opportunities during February’s Black History Month in collaboration with DPNR’s State Historian George Tyson and State Historic Preservation Office Director Kevin Krigger on the built heritage of the Virgin Islands.  


For more information on the V.I. History Month contests, visit 


Download press release here:  pdf VIDE, Viya Partner for V.I. History Month Contests Highlighting Emancipation and Built Heritage (159 KB)

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St. Thomas

1834 Kongens Gade, St. Thomas, VI 00802
Phone: 340-774-0100

Curriculum Center:
Mon – Fri:  8AM – 5PM


St. Croix

2133 Hospital Street, Christiansted, St. Croix, VI 00820
Phone: 340-773-1095

Curriculum Center:
Mon – Fri:  8AM – 5PM

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