Smart, Safe Schools!
The bottom line is that NNPS must make it possible for all students to succeed in the 21st century. The economic and demographic changes which are influencing the job market make it clear that the education that was good enough 35 years ago is not good enough today. Imagine instead, the possibilities that abound for the students who attend Smart, Safe Schools, places where:
- All students read on level by grade three and master complex literacy in grades five, eight, and 11.
- All students successfully complete Algebra I by the end of eighth grade.
- Learning can be used in life outside of school.
- Professional development enables educators to help students gain the knowledge and skills they need.
- Every student and staff member has on-demand access to current technology and uses it to work productively.
- Students identify a career pathway and choose high school courses that open doors to post secondary studies and careers.
- Students think wisely, use technology with discernment, interview well, and serve their community.
- All students demonstrate the skills for 21st century success.
- All students and staff contribute to a nurturing environment that encourages students to challenge themselves and take risks in pursuit of higher academic achievement.
- Students have access to prevention and intervention strategies that match their needs.
- Students use citizenship education and anti-bullying strategies to enhance the school environment.
- Students learn about and demonstrate leadership abilities through participation in volunteer and other civic activities.
- Alternative programs provide opportunities for suspended students to continue their education and demonstrate their ability to participate positively upon their return to the regular classroom.
- Well-trained school security officers and other staff assist students in making good decisions and modeling correct behavior while at school.
Why Smart, Safe Schools?
What possibilities exist in the 21st century for the graduates of Newport News Public Schools? Will they have a solid foundation in basic subjects such as English, math and science? Have they learned about different career pathways and job opportunities? Will they have the educational preparation to pursue the careers they want? How will they manage work and personal goals? Do they value and have an interest in being involved in their community? Do they possess the essential thinking skills and habits necessary to be prepared for college or work? Are they ready for the 21st century?
Newport News Public Schools has made strides in enhancing academic performance, significantly raising achievement levels, increasing enrollment in rigorous coursework, boosting the percentage of students taking SATs, moving students into higher-level math, expanding preschool access, and narrowing achievement gaps.
At the same time, the school division has worked to create environments for students by defining clear expectations for behavior in the Rights and Responsibilities Handbook, investing in security staff and electronic surveillance, and supporting programs that build positive relationships.
As we move into the 21st century it is imperative that we do more than meet the basic standards. Our new challenge is to invent the kind of schools that address current academic standards while preparing students to become tomorrow’s workforce.
The world in which our students will live is changing daily and, we have a responsibility to prepare them accordingly. The 21st century workplace for our students will be defined by:
Diversity – By 2050, no single racial or ethnic group will constitute more than 50 percent of the population.
21st Century Knowledge & Skills – Social and intellectual skills will both drive and determine economic success, intensifying competition for well-educated people. New job entrants will need oral and written communication, time management, critical thinking, problem solving, personal accountability, and the ability to work effectively with others. Eighty percent of the fastest growing jobs will require some post secondary education.
Advanced Technology – Technology will increase the speed of communication and pace of invention. Today’s students must be prepared for jobs involving a high level of technology skills, complex communication, and expert thinking.
Career Adaptability – By 2015, more than half of the world will be working in jobs that don’t yet exist. Our kindergartners will have nine jobs and four careers in their lifetime.