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Newport News Public Schools

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

NNPS NewsLines

Printer friendly versionNEWSLines: APRIL 2014

In this issue:


One-Man Booster Club

Relationships key for principal.

Denbigh High School Principal Tony VladuFor Denbigh Principal Tony Vladu, relationships are the key to student success. And, pupil-teacher dynamics are just part of the picture. Vladu also focuses on the ties among his school's faculty and staff. There are relationships between students and content they're expected to master. And, the community has to be taken into account, too.

Vladu has made a career (maybe a couple) out of building bridges and community. He started doing it at a young age, after his family emigrated to the United States from Romania, where they were ostracized and persecuted because they were Christians in an atheist country, Vladu says. His parents' Romanian citizenship was revoked and they lost their jobs after applying to leave the country in 1979, during the regime of Nicolae Ceaușescu. Vladu and his siblings were thrown out of school.

Vladu started school in the United States after a four-year gap in his education. Like many other ESL (English as a Second Language) students, he was a go-between for his parents and the foreign culture in which they found themselves. He graduated from high school in 1990 as a participant in the military's delayed-entry program. In the Army, he worked as a helicopter structural repairman. Six months out of high school, Vladu was deployed to the first Gulf War with the 82nd Airborne Division. He specialized in field-level repairs and stayed in the military for seven years, after changing his field to Special-Forces engineer sergeant. Fort Eustis was one of his stops in the Army. READ MORE...

Second Lett Scholar Joins NNPS

WHS alum teaches at Passage.

Danielle LavergneDanielle Lavergne is the second Wayne D. Lett Scholarship recipient to return to Newport News Public Schools as a teacher. After receiving the scholarship in 2008, she attended Old Dominion University, where she earned a double degree in English Education and Women's Studies. She teaches eighth-grade English at Passage Middle School.

What NNPS schools did you attend?

I moved to Newport News the summer before my junior year of high school due to my father being in the military. The only Newport News school I attended was Warwick High School.

Was there a teacher who stands out for you as a role model, someone who might have helped you decide to pursue a teaching career? If so, who, and what was special about that mentor?

I've known I wanted to be a teacher since I was in elementary school. At the end of the year, when other students were throwing away their workbooks and teachers were getting rid of unused worksheets, I was collecting them. I would go home and play school with my brother and cousins. I was always the teacher.

My fifth-grade teacher, Agnes Smith, was a no-nonsense teacher who expected you to walk into her classroom and get your work done. I also look up to Tivika Stephenson. She was my cheerleading coach at Warwick. She has always given me advice and supported me on my path to be a teacher. She is a very hard worker and amazing teacher and has accomplished a lot.

Another teacher who inspired me was Kimberly Grant. She was my Teachers for Tomorrow teacher at Warwick. In that class I learned what it would be like to be a teacher and what I needed to do to become one. READ MORE...

Mini-Grants Boost Learning

Teacher projects funded.

More than 70 teachers received funding for innovative programs at a Mini-Grant Awards Ceremony March 11. Administered by the Newport News Education Foundation, National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) and NNPS, the mini-grant program supports teachers who enrich academic experiences for students.

Projects that received a green light include protein-cloning efforts at Menchville High School, a school garden at Magruder Elementary School, an online library at Dozier Middle School and a wheelchair-accessible learning center at Gatewood P.E.E.P.

Projects relating to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) were approved at Lee Hall Early Childhood Center, An Achievable Dream Academy, Carver Elementary School and Sanford Elementary School. Students at Booker T. Washington Middle School will learn the ABC's and 123's of economics. Special-needs students will be served by projects at Warwick High School and Lee Hall Elementary School

The Foundation provides $12,000 for mini grants to NNPS teachers in addition to $1,000 donated by the NCJW. Janet Glasofer, a speech pathologist at Kiln Creek Elementary School and NCJW member, said the two groups have awarded more than $120,000 in mini grants since 2006.

Foundation President Dr. Guy Levy said the grants are designed to leverage innovative ideas teachers have for improving classroom education and serve as a means of testing new ideas and sharing them across the school division.

Superintendent Ashby Kilgore, a member of the Foundation, applauded the teachers for going "above and beyond" to serve their students and thanked the sponsors who provided funds to support the grants. View a list of award recipients and their projects on the Education Foundation.

News, Notes and Calendar

News & Notes

FacebookView photos on NNPS Facebook!

Newport News Public Schools received the Grand Award in the K-12 category of the 2013 Green Cleaning Award for Schools & Universities, sponsored by American School & University magazine, The Green Cleaning Network, and Healthy Schools Campaign. The district was featured in the December issue of AS&U.

Five NNPS teachers have earned National Board Certification. The demanding National Board Certification process can take up to three years. It requires more than 300 hours spent assembling a "career portfolio" of teaching materials, student work and multimedia examples. A reflective written component looks at teaching goals, methods and results. The candidates also have to undergo an assessment. NNPS now claims 65 nationally board-certified teachers.

The newly certified teachers include Brett Higginbotham and Dorothea Neighbours at Dozier Middle School, Lauren Efird at McIntosh Elementary School and Christopher Joy-Hogg and Tina Turner at Kiln Creek Elementary School.

Congratulations to Heritage High School teachers Tysha Sanford and Krista Stachura. Sanford is serving as a 2014 Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars (VASTS) Master Online Teacher. Stachura is a 2014 Virginia Space Coast Scholar (VSCS) Master Online Teacher.

Betty Menking, assistive technology service provider and speech language pathologist for NNPS, recently received an award from the Training and Technical Assistance Center at Old Dominion University for promoting Inter-Agency Collaboration in her work.

View the winners in the city-wide PTA Reflections contest. This year's theme is "Believe, Dream, Inspire."

Congratulations to Warwick High School's Triston Stuples, who claimed the top prize for boys in Virginia's National Archery in the Schools Program tournament March 8, with a score of 287 out of 300. Warwick's team finished second in the state. Teams from Gildersleeve Middle School and Richneck Elementary School finished fourth in the state tournament. Richneck's Rebecca Smith was third in the state among elementary-school girls. Other top-10 finishes were notched by Dominique Monroe of Warwick, fourth among high-school girls; Juliana Cerny of Gildersleeve, fifth among middle-school girls; John Cerny of Menchville, ninth among high-school boys, and Elaine Southern and Bethany Wissmann of Warwick, who tied for 10th among high-school girls. View the top finishers in the all-city archery tournament, held February 15.

In conjunction with October's College Fair at the Hampton Roads Convention Center, the Warwick High School Counseling Department raised more than $200 to help seniors pay college fees. Members of the Warwick faculty and staff each paid $4 to wear jeans and college apparel. More than half of the faculty and staff participated. Louisa Slagle

Sanford Elementary School has a new program to encourage fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers and uncles of Sanford students to volunteer at the school. F.A.S.T. (Fathers at Sanford Time) is an initiative of Principal Brian Lieberman. The volunteers spend time reading in classrooms and helping with assignments and in the cafeteria and library. More than 50 male family members signed up to volunteer. Marcia Binns

Four NNPS students won scholarships of $500 at Warwick High School's College Night in Virginia. The annual program offers help in choosing the right college, financial aid and other topics. More than 600 students and their families participated. Winning scholarships were Hannah Bradley, Menchville; Kayla Jennings, Menchville; Rebecca Laxton, Woodside; and Julia Slocum, Woodside. Louisa Slagle

From left, Julia Slocum, Rebecca Laxton, Hannah Bradley and Kayla Jennings, with Donzaleigh Douglas, director of school counselors at Warwick High School.

To promote reading during National Young Readers Week, Camisha Davis, principal of Epes Elementary School, read from the first school bell to the last in, around and on top of the school. And, Davis read while dressed in her pajamas! The event was meant to encourage reading at Epes and to enter the school in a contest to win free books. Karen Ciotta

Christopher Newport University's women's lacrosse team and coaches have formed a partnership with Yates Elementary School's L.A.X. "Ladies Achieving Excellence" group. Professional school counselor Nancy Pulley, Head Coach Carolyn Raveia, Assistant Coach Jessie Harkey and the athletes began working with Yates students in September and will continue throughout the school year. The purpose of Ladies Achieving Excellence is to foster leadership, friendship and academic skills. Debra Ruffin

Epes Elementary School third-graders got the chance to learn about computer programming during Computer Science Education Week in December. Renate Sanders' class took part in the "Hour of Code" effort. The activity was designed to enhance students' critical thinking, math and computer skills. The students built and customized their own games, under the direction of instructional technology coach Cassandra Murphy. Cassandra Murphy

Warwick High School's Battle of the Brains team advanced to the state semifinals by defeating Charlottesville High School, 190-145, in quarterfinal action. Warwick's team - Daniel Birriel, Isaiah Johnson, Ben Lambert and Christian May - was the only Hampton Roads school to qualify for the tournament. The team is coached by English and theater teacher Justin Giroux. Louisa Slagle

Gildersleeve Middle School students James Harrington, John Kropp, Caroline Lash and Avery Magnotti were among 400 students chosen from the Mid-Atlantic region to participate in the 17th Annual Virginia Tech Honor Band. Events culminated in a concert on Jan. 26 in the new Moss Arts Center on the Virginia Tech campus. Martin Blount

Warwick High School's Science Bowl team finished second in the Virginia Regional Science Bowl in February at Jefferson Laboratory. Twenty-two schools from across Virginia competed in the event. The winner was Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. The Warwick team received a $500 Department of Energy grant for the school's science department. Team members include Sahaj Bhatt, Daniel Birriel, Isaiah Johnson, Christian May and Sean Wells. Louisa Slagle

Mark Your Calendar

NNPS school calendars and marking periods can be viewed at www.nnschools.org/calendars.



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