In The News
Deer Park Elementary School Named Among Best in the Country
(09/29/2016) - Deer Park Elementary School has been named a 2016 National Blue Ribbon School for its strong academic performance. The prestigious list includes the top-performing schools in the nation. Deer Park, an environmental science magnet school with 530 students, is among 279 public and 50 private schools receiving the honor.
Deer Park Elementary School is recognized in the Exemplary High Performing Schools category.
During the past five school years, Deer Park students have exceeded state and federal benchmarks on all Virginia Standards of Learning tests. Student performance on state assessments is among the highest in Virginia in all subject areas. During the 2015-2016 school year: 96% of students passed English and math assessments, 97% of students passed the history tests and 99% of students successfully passed the science tests.
The Environmental Science magnet school has a comprehensive academic program built around the integrating themes of land, water and air. The program provides students with an environment that emphasizes discovery and exploration through collaborative study, scientific research and use of scientific tools and technology. Students take an active role in protecting and caring for the world around them.
Each teacher has a fin, feather, fur or reptile friend in the classroom. Within the school there are 55 exhibits and habitats. Students lead the research and create informational posters to highlight the exhibits. Additionally, there are several unique species of desert, rainforest and marshland reptiles exhibited throughout school. Various project-based learning experiences are completed throughout the school year.
An outdoor courtyard provides an extension of the classroom and gives students hands-on lessons with the butterfly and vegetable gardens, monarch butterfly way station, pond, birdhouses, rain barrels and habitat tower.
Deer Park has a unique partnership with its neighbor, the Virginia Living Museum. Students regularly visit the museum to see, learn and interact with its many animal species, walk-though habitats, and planetarium. Students and staff also collaborate with various environmental agencies.
The 2016 Blue Ribbon Schools were announced by U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr., on September 28, 2016. Deer Park is among seven schools in Virginia that earned recognition.
Schools are nominated for the award by the state department of education, and then the school leadership team completes a comprehensive application about school practices. Schools may apply for status as Exemplary High Performing—among the top schools in a state—or Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing—schools making the fastest progress in the their state in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.
Mary Jo Anastasio, the principal of Deer Park Elementary School, and Brian Nichols, Newport News Public Schools’ Chief Academic Officer will represent the school at the two-day awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. on November 7 and 8. Several Deer Park teachers will also attend.
Now in its 34th year, the U. S. Department of Education has bestowed this coveted award on fewer than 8,500 schools. Newport News schools have earned 13 Blue Ribbon School Awards since the inception of the program.
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