12465 Warwick Boulevard, Newport News, VA 23606  Phone: (757) 591-4500



Professional Development Programs

National Board Certification

National Board Certification & Take One

Teachers, are you interested in pursuing National Board Certification or Take One? Grants are available from the Virginia Department of Education and NNPS. For additional information on National Board Certification or the VDOE Subsidy Grant for National Board, contact Deborah.Richardson@nn.k12.va.us.

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards was created in 1987. The National Board Certification is a voluntary process and is valid for 10 years. It does not replace the state licensure.

Core Propositions
The National Board Certification process is guided by five core propositions:

  • Teachers are committed to students and their learning.
  • Teachers know the subjects they teach, and how to teach those subjects to all students.
  • Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning.
  • Teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience.
  • Teachers are members of learning communities.

What is involved?
In pursuing National Board Certification, teachers are involved in extensive self reflection and analysis of their classroom practice. They are given the opportunity to demonstrate and measure their practice against the rigorous standards of National Board. The process involves the completion of a portfolio and a one day assessment center exercise.

Who is eligible?

  • Teachers who possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
  • Teachers who have completed 3 years of successful teaching at one or more early childhood, elementary, middle, or secondary school(s).
  • Teachers who hold a valid state teaching license for each of those three years.

The fee for National Board Certification is $2565. The Virginia Department of Education offers application grants of $1000 and $2000 in the spring of each year. Application grants are also available through NNPS in the fall. All grant monies are subject to availability of funds. To qualify for funding from either of these sources, teachers must hold a Virginia Collegiate Professional or Postgraduate Professional license. To qualify for NNPS funding, teachers must have continuing contract status and meet the eligibility criteria.

Support for Candidacy
Staff Development offers pre-candidacy sessions for those teachers interested in pursuing National Board Certification. These sessions are designed to assist teachers in understanding the candidacy process. A summer institute, workshops and candidate support meetings are offered for teachers who become candidates for certification.

Additional Information
Debbie Richardson, Coordinator, Staff Development (591-4590) or visit http://www.nbpts.org/.


Brain Gym®

Alphabet 8s
Alphabet 8s
Calf Pump
Calf Pump
Double Doodle
Double Doodle
Lazy 8
Lazy 8

What is Brain Gym?
Brain Gym is a set of simple movements designed to use the body as an assist to learning. The movements integrate all areas of the brain to enhance learning. Brain Gym movements are simple, quickly done, and require no special equipment. Brain Gym has been selected by the National Learning Foundation as one of today's leading technologies for education.

Why is movement important?
Learning is not all in our heads. Movement is a vital component. Movement supports the neurological connections for coordination of the eyes, ears, hands, and whole body needed for learning. When the brain and the body are working together, information is processed more easily. Research has shown that academic performance increases when movement is integrated into learning activities.

What are the benefits of using Brain Gym in the classroom?
Brain Gym honors the unique learning styles and developmental levels of all students, no matter what the age. Research findings show that Brain Gym contributes to improved academic performance, self-esteem, and social relationships. Communication is improved. In addition, the movements reduce stress by integrating both hemispheres of the brain, making it less likely that students will use ineffective compensations when learning becomes difficult.

How many NNPS employees know how to use Brain Gym?
Currently, there are many NNPS employees trained in Brain Gym. These include classroom teachers, resource teachers, principals, therapists, and central office administrators.   Teachers in more than 15 schools in Newport News use Brain Gym activities to help their students be more effective learners.

How does one learn the Brain Gym movements?
The basic Brain Gym theory and exercises are taught in Brain Gym 101, a 24-hour training sequence. However, the practical application of Brain Gym can be personalized for schools and other interested groups.

Newport News Public Schools has two active, certified Brain Gym trainers:

  • Denise Neveux, Jenkins Elementary School
  • Terry Sanchez, Deer Park Elementary School

What other resources are available?
The Staff Development Department has several print resources and a video tape available on Brain Gym and related topics. All are available for check out through the Professional Development Library. Contact Staff Development Staff.Development@nn.k12.va.us or 591-4662) for specific titles or to request an item.

Additional information can be found at the Brain Gym web site, http://www.braingym.org/. For additional information on Brain Gym, please contact the Staff Development Coordinator, 591-4584.


Pathwise Instructional Mentoring

What is it?
Pathwise Instructional Mentoring is a structured, formative process designed to assist novice teachers in their professional growth. It involves 7 "events" , activities designed to examine the classroom environment, lesson design, action research, designing and analyzing student work. Each event guides the novice to explore different aspects of the teaching profession with the assistance of a trained mentor.


  • 3 days (18 hours) of rigorous and extensive training
  • Periodic follow up is provided as additional support for mentors

Who is eligible to be a Pathwise Mentor?

  • Newport News Public School teachers or retired teachers
  • Active teachers must have continuing contract status
  • Must have the recommendation of your administrator

For further information contact:
Staff Development (591-4590 or 591-4584).


Enhancing Professional Practice Mentoring

What is it?
Enhancing Professional Practice (EPP) is a formative process designed to ensure that all new teachers receive support in their probationary years of teaching.  It relies on the expertise of veteran teachers to provide structured mentoring based on the criteria of good teaching outlined in the NNPS Teacher Performance Assessment document.  Enhancing Professional Practice is founded on research in good mentoring practice as conducted by the New Teacher Center at the University of California at Santa Cruz.  The EPP program builds competence, reflective practice, collaborative thinking, and instructional planning skill.


  • 3 days (18 hours) of rigorous training in the mentoring skills and processes
  • Periodic follow up is provided as additional support for mentors

Who is eligible to be an EPP Mentor?

  • Newport News Public School teachers or retired teachers.
  • Active teachers must have continuing contract status.
  • Must have the recommendation of your administrator.

For further information contact:
Staff Development (591-4590 or 591-4584).


Affirming Resilience in Students

This training is based on the work of Drs. Steven and Sybil Wolin. The Wolin's define resilience as, "the process of persisting in the face of adversity."

This training takes a strength-based approach. Participants are encouraged to find strengths even in the most damaged youth. Participants learn that students can lead productive and satisfying lives even though they have experienced various hardships and suffering. Students are no longer seen as victims of their circumstances. They are seen as having the power and strength "to change the image of oneself from damaged goods to one that prevails."

The training emphasizes that there are specific behaviors that students rely on to help them through times of trouble. These behaviors can be taught, modeled, and learned. These clusters of strength that are used during the struggle with adversity are called resiliencies. The seven resiliencies are:

  • Insight
  • Independence
  • Relationships
  • Initiative
  • Creativity
  • Humor
  • Morality

Additional information on resilience are available for check out through the Professional Development Library. Contact Staff Development Staff.Development@nn.k12.va.us or 591-4662 to request an item.

For further information contact:
Staff Development (591-4590 or 591-4584).


Thinking Maps®

Thinking maps are graphic organizers that correspond to the 8 most common thinking processes used in instruction. They can be used at all levels, with all learners, and adapt to any curriculum. The maps help learners pay attention to important information, make connections for more complete learning, and strengthen those connections for more complete retention. When used consistently over time Thinking Maps® have been proven to increase student achievement and depth of learning.

Teachers can begin using the maps once they have completed a 6 hour course of training. Follow up is also required and usually takes place individually and in small groups. Training is most commonly offered for school wide implementation, however the maps can be implemented across a grade level or within a subject area if school wide implementation is unrealistic.

The certified Thinking Maps trainers in NNPS are:

  • Shannon Bowman, Hidenwood & Washington
  • Wenda Bransford, Charles & Hilton
  • Howard Eley, Huntington & Enterprise
  • Jonathan Goeller, Achievable Dream
  • Melia Hellman, Heritage
  • Kathleen Pietrasanta, Staff Development
  • Debbie Richardson, Staff Development

For further information contact:
Staff Development (591-4590 or 591-4584).


Write...from the Beginning®

Competence in writing is one of the skills needed to be literate. Good writing is taught, not assigned. Write…From the Beginning provides elementary teachers with a focused approach to developing early writing skills in their students.With statewide testing of writing beginning in Grade 3, students need to develop the good writing skills early in their academic careers. This program introduces teachers to the criteria for good writing as well as structured processes for teaching writing. Teachers in the schools that have adopted Write…From the Beginning develop a common language and shared accountability for school wide writing performance.

Write…From the Beginning uses Thinking Maps as its foundation. Therefore, training in and a thorough knowledge of the maps needs to be in place before Write…From the Beginning training can occur. The training sequence includes an  introductory workshop, follow up training, and an assessment of student writing.

For further information contact:
Staff Development (591-4590 or 591-4584).


Academy for Aspiring School Leaders

NNPS offers a year-long professional development program for current non-administrative personnel who aspire to a school leadership position. The content for the program focuses on the six ISLLC leadership standards. The content is presented in eight-full-day training seminars. At the conclusion of the seminar training, participants are required to take the School Leaders Licensure Assessment (SLLA), a comprehensive, six-hour, written examination based on the ISLLC standards. The final program component is a summer school administrative internship.    

Participation in the program is limited to individuals who are nominated by a current NNPS school administrator. Once nominated, the individual receives an invitation to submit an application for participation in the program. All applications are reviewed by a central office screening committee which recommends individuals for participation. The nomination and application process usually takes place in late spring prior to the close of the school year.

Individuals wanting more specific information on this professional development program should contact the Staff Development office at Staff.Development@nn.k12.va.us or 591-7436.