Dr. Felicia Barnett
Executive Director, Secondary Education
Middle School Academics
Middle-school students receive instruction in the four core areas of English, mathematics, science and history/social science, as well as technology, fine arts, living skills, industrial arts, world language, health and physical education.
The Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools describe the state’s expectations for student learning and achievement. The standards outline what educators should teach and what students should learn at each grade level. All Newport News middle schools teach students these standards.
NNPS also provides a program of study that builds the skills, knowledge and expertise students need to ensure future success. The school district’s college, career and citizen-ready skills are incorporated in each subject. These skills are developed around three themes: information and communication skills, learning and thinking skills and life and career skills.
Middle-school students who enroll in and successfully complete high-school credit classes such as world language and higher-level math classes (algebra or geometry) will receive high-school credit that may be counted towards state graduation requirements. The class grades become part of the student’s high-school transcript and are included in the student’s grade point average.
Report cards are issued every nine weeks and are supplemented by interim reports at the midpoint of each marking period. Students are evaluated at the end of each marking period on achievement, work-study habits and behavior.
Homework is an important part of the middle-school educational experience. It strengthens skills, increases learning time, promotes responsibility and independence and develops good work and study habits. Middle-school students should expect an average of two hours of homework per night. Students are encouraged to maintain a homework notebook to stay organized.
Standards of Learning
The Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools describe the commonwealth's expectations for student learning and achievement in grades K-12 in English, mathematics, science, history/social science, technology, the fine arts, foreign language, health and physical education, and driver education. These standards represent a broad consensus of what parents, classroom teachers, school administrators, academics, and business and community leaders believe schools should teach and students should learn.
In the four core areas of English, mathematics, science, and history/social science, a curriculum framework also is provided that details the specific knowledge and skills students must possess to meet the standards for these subjects.
SOL Assessments required by the State of Virginia are administered in late April each year. Students in grades 3, 5, and 8 are administered tests in English, Mathematics, Science, History and Social Science. The English tests for grades 5 and 8 include a direct writing sample. In addition, a computer technology test is given to students in grades 5 and 8. End-of-course tests are administered in Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, English II (including a direct writing sample), Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, World History, World Geography and U.S. History. As required in the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia, schools use the SOL test results as part of a multiple set of criteria for determining promotion or retention in grades 3, 5, and 8. Each in middle and high school who earns a passing score on an end-of-course SOL test is awarded a verified unit of credit in that course.
Credit-Bearing Courses: Middle school students who enroll in and successfully complete high school courses receive high school credit that counts toward meeting the state-prescribed graduation requirements. The course grades become part of the high school transcript and are included in the student's grade point average. Virginia Board of Education Regulation VAC 20-131-90C allows parents to request that final grades in credit-bearing courses taken in middle school be omitted from the student's transcript and that the student not earn high school credit for the course if parents make a request in writing by July 1 of the eighth grade year.
Grading System: Report cards are issued each nine weeks and are supplemented by interim reports at the mid-point of each marking period. Students are evaluated at the end of each marking period on achievement, work-study habits, and attitude and behavior. In addition, the performance level is indicated for reading and mathematics. The comprehensive report card provides information to parents about the student's performance in core curriculum subjects and related arts courses. Eighth grade students are evaluated in all high school credit courses. View middle school grading scale.
Promotion and Retention: Promotion or retention of students is based on the teacher's and principal's judgment of what best serves the education welfare of the child. Parents will be informed early in the second semester if there is a possibility that placement will result in retention. This information will be conveyed to the parents through a conference and in writing. Any student with three or more F's for final grades will be retained.
Homework Policy: Homework is an important part of the educational experience, serving to:
- Strengthen skills already taught
- Increase learning time
- Provide enrichment opportunities
- Promote creativity, responsibility and independence
- Develop good work and study habits
Average homework timelines are recommendations. They are not meant to be minimum or maximum quotas. Some students may need more time and some less time to accomplish an assignment. The complexity of advanced level work may require additional time. Middle school students should expect an average of two hours of homework per night. This is a recommendation and is not meant to be a maximum or a minimum.
Sample Middle School Schedule