Superintendent's Post Entry Report to the Community
Dear Newport News Community and Staff,
Over the course of my first few months as the superintendent of Newport News, my meetings, engagements and interactions have been both purposeful and enlightening. It has been my goal throughout the entry planning period to educate myself on the culture, capacity and community of Newport News. I firmly believe that in order to lead our school division effectively, I had an obligation to fully understand what makes NNPS unique and a great place for students.
During this transition, it has been my pleasure to spend time in our schools with the many talented educators, support personnel and leaders who support the mission of NNPS. Additionally, my interactions with both my senior leadership team and members of the larger community have been extremely productive. I have had productive meetings with our local elected officials, city leadership, and the leadership of various local businesses, community, civic and military organizations. More importantly, these meetings have allowed me to establish positive relationships with many of the leaders who support Newport News Public Schools.
In addition to meetings, I have taken care to strategically tap advisory groups to guide my decision-making moving forward. To ensure that all voices are heard, in addition to my existing student advisory group and employee communications forum, I have added a teacher advisory group, a support staff advisory group and parent communication forums to my schedule of stakeholder meetings.
Most importantly, over the course of the past six months, I have enjoyed the opportunities to engage our students both in our classrooms and at extra-curricular activities. Students provide a constant reminder of the important work that we do on a daily basis. I have been inspired by the heartwarming work of our teachers as they involve their students in relevant and challenging instructional activities. It is this commitment to quality instruction that has enabled NNPS students to graduate college, career and citizen-ready.
Here in Newport News, we believe that smart is something you become. That said, a strong commitment to high quality instruction and building positive relationships will enable all students to thrive under our care and guidance.
Thank you for the opportunity to share what I have heard and learned in this post-entry plan report.
George Parker, III, Ph.D.
Newport News Public Schools
- Quality Curriculum
- Employee Expertise
- Accountability Systems
- Community Connections
- Financial Resiliency
The organization of this report has been formatted to align division strengths, opportunities and actions with the current strategic plan. Additionally, two key areas, School Safety and Equity and Opportunity, were added to the entry plan to allow for appropriate discussions and data collection beyond the scope of the Academic Agenda.
NNPS will advance the Academic Agenda by providing the structures, resources and experiences necessary to ensure that all students graduate college, career and citizen-ready through:
- A curriculum that improves achievement, promotes effective teaching strategies and engages students in meaningful, authentic and rigorous work
- A comprehensive assessment system that reflects demonstration and mastery of NNPS indicators of student success
- The integration and utilization of supportive technology
NNPS will advance the Academic Agenda by ensuring that all employees are equipped with the skills necessary to meet or exceed performance expectations through:
- The systemic and purposeful recruitment, selection, orientation and placement of a diverse workforce
- Practices that provide employee development, growth and advancement opportunities and promote retention and loyalty
- Quality performance standards and an employee performance assessment process for timely and constructive feedback
NNPS will advance the Academic Agenda by effectively utilizing division-wide data through:
- Integration of the use of data into school planning and teachers' instructional decisions
- Structures for planning, informal professional development, and data use
- Integration of the use of data with district initiatives to determine strategic next steps
Providing a quality education for all students is a collaborative effort that families, students and the community share to support student achievement and outcomes for success. NNPS will advance the Academic Agenda by building partnerships to increase community confidence, advance student opportunities and keep the public informed through:
- Two-way communications with district families, employees and the community
- Branding and marketing school programs and initiatives
- Exemplary customer service practices
- Opportunities for community involvement that advance student learning and development
Resilient school divisions evolve their planning process as needed to address new issues, keep up with best practices and anticipate the changing needs of the organization created by economic conditions, community expectations, and state and federal regulations. NNPS will advance the Academic Agenda by ensuring long-term success by aligning current and future resources with the district's mission through:
- Long-range planning for operations and infrastructure
- Utilization of best business and operational practices
- Community awareness of NNPS fiscal management
Newport News Public Schools will advance the Academic Agenda by providing the structures, resources and experiences necessary to ensure that all students graduate college, career and citizen ready.
Ensuring that all students are prepared for successful futures involves providing an educational experience for students that is deliberate, consistent and grounded in research-based best practices. In order to positively impact the quality of education in NNPS, we must pay as much attention to HOW we teach as we pay to WHAT we teach.
Are we preparing students to graduate college-ready?
In terms of Quality Curriculum, I noted many successes during the entry planning period:
- High-school level coursework is offered to students beginning in middle school. Over 60% of NNPS middle school students are earning high school credit.
- At the high school level, students have access to 28 advanced placement course offerings, more than any other school division on the Peninsula. Students also have access to honors, International Baccalaureate and dualenrollment courses. Nearly 90% of our high school students experience an honors, AP, IB or dual-enrollment course prior to graduation.
- Through a partnership with Thomas Nelson Community College, NNPS students may earn up to 19 semester hours of college credit by participating in the Early College Program.
- The Governor's STEM Academy, the Governor's Health Sciences Academy, the Aviation Academy and the International Baccalaureate program enable students to experience the rigor of post-secondary education as high school students.
- The Class of 2018 earned more than $56 million dollars in scholarships to prestigious colleges and universities across the country.
- The academic program of the school division has continued to improve as evident by NNPS schools experiencing a 60% increase in school accreditation over the past three years, moving from 14 accredited schools in 2015, to 26 this year.
- NNPS maintains a technology device-to-student ratio of 1:1.5 which enables students to access instructional technology on a daily basis.
The new Virginia Profile of a High School Graduate serves as a framework for school divisions to establish the curricula necessary to provide every student the knowledge and competencies essential to be prepared for post-secondary education, employment and life in tomorrow's economy.
The Profile of a Graduate promotes a well-developed curriculum that provides opportunities for students to be critical thinkers, communicators, creators, collaborators and good citizens.
Newport News Public Schools is well prepared in this area. The NNPS curriculum exceeds the required state Standards of Learning by combining the SOLs with the school division's college, career and citizen-ready skills including information literacy, communication, critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity and innovation, initiative and self-direction, social responsibility and collaboration. These skills are integrated into instruction at all grade levels.
I have appreciated our discussions related to teaching and learning throughout the entry planning period. As we continue our discourse about quality instruction and professional learning, I believe we will identify even greater opportunities ahead in the areas of curriculum and developmental literacy.
Curriculum: College-Ready Actionable Work Priorities
Conduct external Audit of division curriculum
Utilizing the VDOE Framework as a starting point, establish the Profile of a Newport News Graduate
Increase the focus on developmental literacy by: (1) focusing on preschool instruction; (2) increasing the percentage of students who read on grade level by the third grade; and (3) continue to develop proper assessment procedures and support programs to assist struggling readers
Develop a comprehensive technology plan that incorporates research-based best practices in the use of technology to support student learning
Establishing a World-Class Curriculum
John Adams, one of the Founding Fathers of the U.S. and second U.S. President, was quoted as saying, "There are two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live." A school division's curricula consists of the totality of a student's experiences throughout the educational process. This includes the standards, instructional practices and assessments of each course that the student has taken as well as the opportunities for social engagement and emotional development which comes with learning to function as a productive citizen and human being.
The Virginia Profile of a High School Graduate serves as a framework for school divisions to establish the curricula necessary to provide every student the knowledge and competencies necessary to prepared for post-secondary education, employment and life in tomorrow's economy.
In terms of future planning, we will begin with an audit of our current NNPS curriculum. Since the last curriculum audit was conducted in 2004, it will be important to assess the quality of our existing curriculum as we consider incorporating any future changes. Additionally, we will engage our community and local employers to establish a Profile of a Newport News Public Schools Graduate. While a state model provides a level of consistency for school divisions, it is extremely important that the competencies, experiences and skills of a NNPS high school graduate also reflect the values of our community.
Excellence in Literacy Development
In addition to developing a World-Class curriculum which supports a new Profile of a NNPS Graduate, a renewed focus on literacy will be needed to ensure that an increased number of students graduate both college and careerready.
Beginning in pre-kindergarten until third-grade our goal for children is for them to learn to read. After thirdgrade, there is a shift for students to reading to learn which will enable them to master curriculum and standards moving forward. Consequently, if a student falls behind by the third grade, the challenge of learning to read while attempting to master the content through reading may become quite challenging or even overwhelming. In order to ensure the success of all students in NNPS, it will be imperative that we continue to strengthen our practices for preparing students for the transition to reading to learn by the end of third grade. This may require that we establish a focused division approach to literacy instruction as early as pre-kindergarten. Additionally, supports for students who struggle with reading and writing beyond third grade should be standardized in all elementary, middle and high schools.
Third grade reading is a critical benchmark for schools in Newport News. Last year, all schools that achieved at least a 60% pass rate on the 3rd grade reading SOL test were accredited. Only 20% of schools that scored below a 60% pass rate on the 3rd grade reading SOL were accredited. Early reading is a priority to move the work forward in NNPS.
Are we preparing students to graduate career-ready?
I was extremely encouraged by my discussions around career related opportunities for students. I noted that Newport News Public Schools has numerous options to ensure that students graduate career-ready.
- NNPS students have access to over 80 career and technical education (CTE) courses designed around industry standards for high-wage, high-demand and high-skill careers. CTE courses prepare students to earn more than a dozen industry certifications, accelerating student access to technical, high-skilled careers.
- NNPS students earned over 3,600 industry and professional certifications last school year.
- Additional courses are also offered at New Horizons Regional Educational Center (NHREC) at campuses in Newport News and Hampton, which recently launched courses in emerging career pathways including mechatronics and cybersecurity.
- NNPS has three career-based high school magnet programs including Denbigh High School's Aviation Academy, the Heritage High Governor's STEM Academy and the Warwick High Governor's Health Sciences Academy.
- NNPS has established supportive partnerships with industries and corporations such as Jefferson Lab, Newport News Shipbuilding, Riverside Health System, the military and many others that enable our division to provide greater access to STEM education and career exploration.
- NNPS students are exposed to grade-appropriate career development experiences through the Career Pathways program. Elementary and middle school students focus on career awareness and exploration, while high school students are exposed to career options through internships, job shadowing and hands-on training.
- Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education or STEM is embedded in the curriculum at all grade levels. Additionally, technology learning labs, city-wide engineering design challenges and renovated science labs enable students at all levels to engaged in hands-on and minds-on activities.
- Through the Early Career program, high school seniors can jump start their careers before graduation. During the first semester of their senior year, students complete their high school coursework and take special training courses. During the second semester, students begin working full time with a local business or industry partner.
Upon my review of career and technical education courses, it became apparent that a division the size of NNPS, with major regional employers such as Newport News Shipbuilding, Ferguson, the Department of Defense, and Riverside Health Systems, should have more students enrolled in career-credentialing programs that support these industries. The table below indicates the current enrollment for Newport News Public Schools students in some credentialing programs.
NNPS Students Enrolled in New Horizons
|Course||NNPS Student Enrollment|
|Automotive Technology 1 & 2||29|
|Welding 1 & 2||9|
|HVAC 1 & 2||13|
|Cisco Network/Cybersecurity Academy||9|
To encourage and increase enrollment in these programs, a greater emphasis on parent and student career-orientation and school counseling is needed to ensure that available opportunities are maximized.
It will be imperative that NNPS solicits the assistance of local businesses and employers to bridge the gap between high school graduation and entry into the workforce. Through expanding opportunities for apprenticeship programs, NNPS students could seamlessly transition from a credentialing course to a paid apprenticeship experience upon completion of their graduation requirements.
Curriculum: Career-Ready Actionable Work Priorities
Collaborate with local employers to align NNPS workforce development courses and credentials with employment opportunities
Establish partnerships and additional CTE courses that will add opportunities for students to earn industry credentials and expand work-based experiences such as internships and apprenticeships
Assess existing programs to ensure quality and alignment with current industry standards
Are we preparing students to graduate Citizen-Ready?
Newport News Public Schools offers an abundance of clubs, activities and sports to engage students beyond the classroom.
Service learning begins in elementary school and is practiced daily as part of the curriculum. Through student leadership conferences and participation in clubs and organizations, students in all grades have the opportunity to develop leadership, volunteerism and citizenship skills.
I have found that NNPS is a school division that values the voice of our students and encourages student advocacy. At the core of this work is the Youth Development Department, a unique office that promotes student leadership and volunteerism. I have been very impressed and pleased by the quality of student-organized events that have been initiated under the guidance of this team including bullying awareness campaigns, empowerment workshops and leadership training.
I believe that the development of a Profile of a NNPS Graduate will increase the emphasis on developing caring, respectful and tolerant young adults. Programs such as Expect Respect encourage middle school students to advocate for themselves and others by learning coping strategies for addressing bullying, harassment and disrespect in their school community. The program has been implemented in a few of our schools thus far with favorable results. Plans are underway to expand this initiative and others to build healthier school environments.
Although Youth Development initiatives have gained much attention at the national level in recent years, they are not new in NNPS. Youth Development became an explicit part of the Public Agenda for Education during the 2007-2008 school-year with measures of youth engagement built into the division's benchmarks for success.
In addition to programs which are geared towards empowering students to make a difference in their communities, NNPS has continued to encourage and monitor student participation in extra-curricular activities, sports and clubs. Recent data indicates that 87% of NNPS students participate in a school-based activity club or sport further connecting them to school.
Looking forward, it will be important for NNPS to build on existing opportunities expanding service learning and leadership opportunities for students within the curriculum. By doing so, NNPS will be able to create opportunities for more students by encouraging students to plan and implement community service projects and participate in leadership activities and discussions which will enable them to develop their unique voice while building their leadership toolbox.
Curriculum: Citizen-Ready Actionable Work Priorities
Increase leadership training and opportunities through student-led initiatives that enable leaders to interact with their younger peers
Increase service learning opportunities in elementary, middle and high school through partnerships, curriculum and a greater emphasis on clubs and student activities
NNPS will advance the Academic Agenda by ensuring that all employees are equipped with the skills necessary to meet or exceed performance expectations.
Newport News Public Schools is the third largest employer in the city of Newport News with over 5,000 employees. The school division has made progress recently in retaining instructional staff by reducing the overall teacher turnover rate to 13 percent. The retention rate for novice teachers has also improved over the past two years. NNPS retained 92 percent of novice teachers last year. However, over the last five years, NNPS has faced challenges with retaining newly hired teachers. Since 2013, 49 percent of the teachers hired are no longer employed by the school division. Addressing this issue is paramount because there is a cost and benefit associated with training a new teacher and having them remain with NNPS long enough to become an effective teacher. When a teacher leaves NNPS after two or more years, they take with them the experience and training they received from the school division.
NNPS has attracted and improved retention of a quality workforce by
- participating in recruitment trips to both in-state and out-of-state universities and career fairs.
- partnering with local colleges and universities to fill hard-to-fill areas such as Gifted Education and Special Education.
- creating innovative programs such as the Teacher Residency partnership with Christopher Newport University and Old Dominion University.
- establishing year-long professional development for new teachers through the New Teacher Institute.
- expanding opportunities for teachers to pursue leadership opportunities and advancement in the school division through roles such as lead teacher, Professional Learning Community (PLC) facilitators, teacher coaches, interventionists and instructional specialists. Additionally, teachers may serve on division-level committees and provide school-level and divisionwide professional development.
- offering professional development for all employee groups through online and on-site opportunities.
- creating opportunities for advancement through the organization.
- Newport News Public Schools is the only school division to offer a state-approved apprenticeship program.
The NNPS Apprenticeship Program is a structured training program designed to develop highly skilled employees in child nutrition, clerical, custodial services and transportation.
NNPS has maintained a standard for teacher evaluation which is consistent with established state procedures set by the Uniformed Performance Standards for School Personnel. However, a review of evaluation evidence for other employee groups including administrators and classified personnel determined that we need to continue to develop a strong evaluation system. Effective performance evaluation has proven to have a direct relationship to improving school division culture, professionalism and student achievement.
It is widely known that we are currently facing a state and national shortage of teachers. As school divisions compete for a smaller pool of qualified teacher candidates, providing a competitive starting salary is the most important tool in attracting new teachers. Once hired, the emphasis will shift towards maintaining a competitive salary by addressing issues of compression in the current compensation system. Compression occurred when tenured teachers did not receive adjustments for one or more years. Compression will be addressed as the budget allows.
Employee Expertise: Actionable Work Priorities
Extend new teacher development and supports to a two-year program
Provide ongoing professional development on performance evaluation for all leadership staff
Offer competitive salaries for employees based on market analysis
Continue to focus on a compensation strategy that addresses compression based on years of experience
Expand university partnerships and school division apprenticeship programs to give employees the opportunity to earn additional credentials and employment experience
Expand training and opportunities for leadership as a retention strategy
NNPS will advance the Academic Agenda by effectively utilizing division-wide data through:
- Integration of the use of data into school planning and teachers' instructional decisions
- Structures for planning, informal professional development, and data use
- Integration of the use of data with district initiatives to determine strategic next steps
Accountability systems involves the collection, analysis, communication and reaction to relevant data. Far too often in public education, relevant and impactful data is collected and neither effectively analyzed, communicated or used to further school division goals or initiatives. When we think of assessment and accountability it is important that we give careful consideration in not only what we are measuring; but also, whether we are using the right tools.
During the entry planning period the following was observed
- The conversion to a new student assessment system this year enables teachers to store a variety of data. Synergy Assessment enables educators to develop and store common assessments which align to learning outcomes created by the state.
- Student data related to daily attendance, discipline, and instructional supports are managed at the school level through the SIS. This data is utilized by school counselors, graduation coaches and interventionists to identify and assist students who are in need of support.
- Teachers are accustomed to meeting regularly to review student results, develop common assessments and plan lessons. Individual students are identified for targeted remediation based on their academic deficiencies.
- School administrators establish annual measurable goals for improving student achievement.
- NNPS has standardized the school improvement process by establishing consistent reporting criteria, reporting templates and training for school leaders. By instituting a common approach to planning and reporting continuous improvement, school accreditation has improved significantly over a four-year period.
Throughout the review of accountability systems, a common theme emerged in many of our discussions and decisions related to future actions. That theme was a significant need for continued professional development. It was determined that additional capacity building was needed in the following areas:
Use of the Student Information System
Administrators and teachers will need additional professional development in order to fully utilize the features of the Student Information System to collect, analyze and store assessment data.
Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)
It was determined that while teachers met frequently in their instructional teams, there was no consistent protocol that involved the analysis of data or student work. The establishment of PLCs at each school will ensure that teacher collaboration is aligned with improvements in student achievement.
English Language Learners (ELL)
NNPS has averaged around 12.6% of ELL students exiting the program annually and gaining proficiency. This percentage is lower than the targeted 19% benchmark. Six additional ELL teachers were hired this school year to accommodate a growing population of ELL students. The addition of new personnel has increased the need for professional development.
Analysis of school division discipline data has determined that as a school division, at the elementary level, black students, male students, and students with disabilities are removed from instruction at a disproportionate rate than their peers. At the secondary level, there is disproportionality in the severity of consequences. Specifically, black students are removed from instruction for longer periods of time than students of other ethnic backgrounds.
Identification and Support for Struggling Readers One of the more significant discoveries during the entry period was the need for an additional literacy screening tool beyond third grade. It was determined that while there was an abundance of assessment resources available to identify the needs of struggling readers in grades kindergarten to third grade, once the instructional focus changed from developmental literacy (learning to read) to acquisition literacy (reading to learn) in grades four and beyond, the primary assessment for literacy became the Standards of Learning (SOL) Reading Assessment. Consequently, if a student failed the fourth grade reading SOL, they would be considered not reading on grade level. However, the SOL test was not developed to identify a student's grade level equivalency in reading or identify specific literacy deficiencies.
Accountability Systems: Actionable Work Priorities
Increase professional development for school personnel in the use of the student information system
Create a standard data analysis protocol which will allow for consistency in expectations and a common vocabulary for assessment and data reporting
Build capacity for Professional Learning Communities at each school by providing focused professional development to PLC facilitators, school administrators and teachers
Increase the capacity of special education professionals to fully utilize the student information system
Provide additional staff and professional development for ELL staff to ensure that the needs of our growing population of ELL students are being met
Establish the NNPS Discipline Task Force to include community and educational partners to identify issues that impact student behaviors that lead to removals from instruction
Providing a quality education for all students is a collaborative effort that families, students and the community share to support student achievement and outcomes for success. NNPS will advance the Academic Agenda by building partnerships to increase community confidence, advance student opportunities and inform the public of future successes.
The core of many successful school divisions is a variety of supportive partnerships, volunteers and community resources. NNPS is fortunate to have an abundance of community, education and business partnerships that support the mission of the school division. Since my arrival in July, I have spent a great deal of time meeting and conversing with many supporters of the school division. For example, partnerships such as the Community Nights Incorporated, a local non-profit supporter of public education, were founded out of an identified need to assist our schools with additional teacher resources and extra-curricular activities. Other non-profit groups such as Soundscapes, which provides after-school music enrichment and character development for elementary students and the NN Education Foundation, were founded out of a desire to enrich the lives of NNPS students. These are only a few of the educational partners that I have met throughout the entry period. While there are far too many to share in this report, I would suffice to say that NNPS is supported by a village of caring citizen, business and educational partners.
I noted the following strengths
- NNPS is well-equipped for providing information to the community in a timely manner. The Department of Community Relations ensures that the management of important information is both consistent and disseminated in a variety of media formats.
- NNPS manages a school division website, a variety of social media platforms, and operates a full-service television station.
- The school division supports all schools and offices with a full-service print shop that prints brochures, report cards, handbooks and posters.
- At the elementary level, NNPS is supported by seven Family and Community Engagement Specialists, whose primary role is community outreach. Family and Community Engagement Specialists are encouraged to establish personal relationships with students and parents in their assigned schools.
Over the course of my first 100 days in Newport News, I had the opportunity to meet with elected officials, college and university representatives, community and education association leaders, parents, students and NNPS staff. While many established relationships with NNPS were performing well, some relationships are in need of strengthening. Looking forward, I believe that a commitment to continuing and maintaining strong relationships, whether it involves elected officials, community or organization leadership, will lead to three things: Access, Transparency and Consistency.
By committing to providing our stakeholders access to communicate and address concerns, future issues will be resolved in a timely manner enabling relationships to develop. Furthermore, information must be presented in a transparent manner in order to build community trust. If these things are done in a consistent manner, both established and strained relationships will continue to improve over time.
Community Connections: Actionable Work Priorities
Establish a parent engagement and support model for secondary schools
Establish stakeholder advisory committees (teachers, support personnel) that meet regularly throughout the school year with the superintendent
Establish a schedule of parent community forums which will be held at locations throughout the city
Develop comprehensive list of all school division education partners and supporters; and revisit procedures of establishing and recognizing education partners
Align community resources and youth programs with school division initiatives
Increase communication and partnerships with local agencies that support families and youth in Newport News
Resilient school divisions evolve their planning process as needed to address new issues, keep up with best practices and anticipate the changing needs of the organization created by economic conditions, community expectations, and state and federal regulations. NNPS will advance the Academic Agenda by aligning current and future resources with the district's mission.
- Our school community and citizens are fortunate to have such a competent and celebrated department of professionals to manage the daily financial operations of the school division. The adopted NNPS fiscal operating budget for fiscal year 2019 is $304,853,775.
- NNPS currently serves 26,996 students and employs a workforce of 4,271 employees. The school division currently maintains the operational condition of 69 schools, centers and office facilities.
- Beginning this school year, NNPS increased the number of schools and centers to 39 that provide a lunch at no cost to students. Breakfast is provided at no cost to all students at all NNPS schools.
In my review of fiscal procedures, it has been apparent that NNPS is fortunate to have a highly efficient and skilled Budget Department. In looking forward, I believe that budget planning will continue to be enhanced through systemic data collection activities such as program evaluations, resource audits, staffing and compensation analysis. I am confident that NNPS will continue to develop a budget that best reflects the needs of children, staff and the overall goals of the division.
While the development of an operational budget is very important, the communication and support of a budget that reflects the needs of the school division both in the community and at the city level are extremely important. More frequent communication between school division and city leadership will be a high priority in future budget cycles. This will be accomplished through joint work sessions, regular meetings with the city manager and increased communication between School Board and City Council members. In doing so, we will make every effort to represent "One City" through our actions and leadership.
Of the sixty-nine schools and facilities that NNPS maintains, twenty-eight were built prior to 1970. A facilities assessment conducted by Moseley Architects in 2016 determined several schools which have been in operation for fifty or more years will require either major renovations or replacement. Additionally, the study concluded that a significant investment will be needed for facility maintenance on existing facilities.
Financial Resiliency: Actionable Work Priorities
Maintain a regionally competitive salary for all employees
Improve school facilities through an investment in capital projects and maintenance
Collaborate with city leadership to establish a long-term facility renovation and replacement plan
Establish a program evaluation schedule to assess the impact of initiatives that require a substantial investment of division resources
School and Student Safety
The safety of our students and staff continues to be a key priority in Newport News Public Schools. NNPS utilizes a variety of safety measures and youth development initiatives to encourage and promote safe and secure school climates.
Our children deserve a safe and nurturing learning environment.
During my entry period, meetings were held with local law enforcement and school security staff to assess school division practices and procedures. Additionally, the Memorandum of Understanding for School Resource Officers, which outlines the roles and responsibilities of school resources officers, was reviewed prior to the start of school to ensure that this important partnership was supportive of a safe school environment.
NNPS is fortunate to have a school resource officer (SRO) in all middle and high schools. Additionally, NNPS employs 65 school security officers who support campus security at all schools.
All school administrators use proven physical security survey checklists to deter inappropriate activity. The on-going installation of state-of-the-art camera surveillance systems also aids in the deterrent of activities that interfere with teaching and learning. Schools also have electronic entry systems that allow visitors to be screened via voice and camera prior to entering the school building.
NNPS has implemented several initiatives that focus on improving student behavior and respect in schools. School-based programs such as Expect Respect and Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) teach students to advocate for their personal safety and the safety of others, and to practice good citizenship skills.
During my entry period, it was reported that student behavior was considered a problem at some schools, these reports will be revisited and addressed to ensure that targeted interventions are implemented to improve student behavior and decision-making. To address student behavioral and mental health issues, I have also identified a need for additional Licensed Clinical Social Workers.
An assessment of the security staff indicated that additional security officers are needed at the elementary school level.
Our schools are also in need of a divisionwide visitor identification system that will assist with parent check-ins and visitor screenings.
School and Student Safety: Actionable Work Priorities
Expand Behavioral programs such as Expect Respect, Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and the Virginia Tiered System of Supports (VTSS) which have proven results in improving student decision-making and behavior
Increase school security at the elementary level
Continue to upgrade security infrastructure to include door entry systems, visitor identification and video surveillance
Investigate the need for additional resources to address behavioral and mental health issues
Equity and Opportunities
"[Equity is] Understanding who your kids are and how to meet their needs… You are still focused on outcomes; but the path to get them there may not be the same for each one." - Pedro Noguera
NNPS is unique in that access to magnet and specialty programs is open to all students through an open lottery process. In addition, bus transportation to these programs is provided for all students.
Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses are open to all students. In fact, all high school students are encouraged to take at least one AP course to prepare for college. Additionally, NNPS pays for all Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate tests, and PSAT testing for all 10th and 11th grade students.
NNPS students may also participate in the Early College program with Thomas Nelson Community College and the Community Captains program with Christopher Newport University.
To address the issue of food insecurity, 39 Newport News public schools offer free breakfast and lunch for all students through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision.
In order for NNPS to become a premier school division in the Commonwealth of Virginia, there are two realities that we must face as a school organization and community. The first reality is that all students are not the same. Treating students equally will only ensure that a percentage of students reach their maximum potential. Consequently, some students will under achieve due to a lack of additional academic support; while others will not reach their maximum potential due to having the capacity to accomplish so much more.
The second reality is that in NNPS, all schools are not the same. As schools are a reflection of the unique community in which they serve, so too are there differences in the needs of students who attend those schools.
In terms of equity, it was determined that there are limitations in the allocation of resources to individual schools. While schools that receive additional funding though the federal Title I program are capable of providing additional instructional supports, most of these schools rely on level funding of support staff and other resources such as technology from the school division budget. The determination of resources beyond grants or Title I funding is consistent by level (elementary, middle and high) throughout the division. Consequently, in many instances, schools that need more support based on their unique population of students do not receive additional resources under the current system.
While there is a variety of teacher professional development opportunities and an emphasis on teacher selection, it was noted that there is a lack of consistent courses that support personalized instruction, differentiation, or responding to the needs of individual students. It will be important to build the capacity of all teachers to utilize the consistent and high yield instructional strategies that will impact a diverse group of learners.
Equity and Opportunities: Actionable Work Priorities
Transition from a standardized approach of resource allocation to a data-driven resource allocation model
Implement a School Support Team process that aligns division resources with school improvement efforts and allows for increased communication and collaboration between division and school leadership
Develop a Profile of a Newport News Public School Graduate and the necessary academic benchmarks, experiences and opportunities to ensure that every student in NNPS is equipped to graduate college, career and citizen-ready
Ensure standardized professional development for all teachers which will establish baseline competencies across the school division for teaching and learning
Establish a data-driven school counseling model that ensures that all students receive adequate college and career advisement throughout their K-12 experience
Appendix: Superintendent's Advisory Groups
During my entry planning process, I had the opportunity to meet with several advisory groups to guide my decision-making. I thank the members of these advisory groups for providing valuable feedback.
Rashard Wright, Chief of Staff, School Leadership
Mary Lou Roaseau, Assistant Superintendent, Business & Support Services
Brian Nichols, Chief Academic Officer, Teaching and Learning
Felicia Barnett, Ed.D., Executive Director, Secondary School Leadership
Catina Bullard-Clark, Ph.D., Executive Director, Elementary School Leadership
Michele Mitchell, Ed.D., Executive Director, Student Advancement
Nancy Sweat, Executive Director, Curriculum & Development
Tracy Brooks, Special Assistant to the Superintendent
Patrick Finneran, Director, Corporate & Government Relations
Stephanie Hautz, Director, Human Resources
Chris Jenkins, Interim Director, Technology
Michelle Price, Director, Public Information & Community Involvement
Joe Ellis, Supervisor, Academic Data Analytics
Billie Hart, Supervisor, Instructional Technology
Angela Rhett, Program Administrator, Employee Expertise
Superintendent's Advisory Group on Education (SAGE)
Charlene Agustin, Denbigh High
Tamara Allen, Achievable Dream High
Udom An, Warwick High
Césarine Aylsworth, Denbigh High
Kaleese Bluiett, Denbigh High
Breyden Byrd, Woodside High
Elizabeth Cambar, Woodside High
Katherine Chang, Heritage High
John Cho, Menchville High
Fatima Cissé, Denbigh High
Harrison Cobb, Menchville High
Libbey Cummings, Warwick High
Murat Direskeneli, Menchville High
Madalene Goeller, Warwick High
Andrés González, Denbigh High
Tyler Goode, Heritage High
Jaliya Hanna, Heritage High
Charles Ippolito, Menchville High
Mireya Jones, Woodside High
Diamond Lamberty, Achievable Dream High
Melissa Miles, Heritage High
Amaia Moxon, Woodside High
Deonna Neal, Heritage High
Veda Raghu, Warwick High
Amari Simmons, Woodside High
Karan Singh, Menchville High
Denise Smith, Achievable Dream High
Jamidalys Soto Cordero, Warwick High
Naomi Williamson, Woodside High
Budget Advisory Committee
JoAnn Armstrong, Newport News Public Schools
Rick Brandt, Newport News Education Foundation
Douglas Brown, Newport News School Board
Melissa Burroughs, Newport News Education Foundation
Phil Harris, Newport News Education Foundation
Thaddeus Holloman, Sr., Newport News Education Foundation
Gary Hunter, Newport News School Board
Vanessa Keller, Newport News Public Schools
John McMillan, Newport News Education Foundation
Teresa Michener, Community Knights
Scarlett Minto, Newport News Public Schools
Robin Nelhuebel, NNPS Education Foundation
Brian Nichols, Newport News Public Schools
Mary Lou Roaseau, Newport News Public Schools
John Shifflett, Newport News Education Foundation
Mary Vause, Newport News Public Schools
Rhonda Wagner, Newport News Public Schools
Newport News Education Foundation (NNEF)
Clark Baldwin, Harvey Lindsay Commercial Real Estate
Alonzo Bell, Randolph Real Estate Services Company
Taylor Bigley, Awnings by Bigley and Hogshire
Rick Brandt, RE/MAX Peninsula
Rhonda Bunn, Canon Virginia, Inc.
Melissa Burroughs, Fulton Bank
Dr. Gamaliel "Dan" Cherry, NASA Langley Research Center
Sharon Conti, Virginia Educators Credit Union
Jayne Di Vincenzo, Lions Bridge Financial
Richard Donaldson, Jr., Jones, Blechman, Woltz & Kelly
Kathy Edwards, An Achievable Dream, Inc.
Dr. Susan English, Thomas Nelson Community College
Dr. Nicole Guajardo, Christopher Newport University
Phil Harris, Newport News Council of PTAs
Thaddeus Holloman, Sr., Old Point National Bank
Mike Kuhns, AssociationOne, LLC
Dave Lawson, POMOCO Newport News
Dr. Guy Levy, Levy Dental Group
Bob McKenna, Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce
John McMillan, Jr.
Dr. Robin Nelhuebel, Riverside Health System
Karen Pfeifer, Huntington Ingalls Industries-NN Shipbuilding
Christine Pilger, Discovery STEM Academy
Brian Richards, Newport News Walmart Supercenter
Sam Rose, Ferguson
John Shifflett, Winning Organizations, LLC
Darlene Stephenson, Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital
Sylvia Weinstein, The Oyster Pointer
Dr. Deborah Wright, Winsight Workforce Coalitions, LLC
Superintendent's Support Staff Advisory Group
Leigh Ann Atkins, Riverside Elementary
Rose Baker, Warwick High
Keemara Basmajian, Kiln Creek Elementary
Devin Berry, Administration Building/Telecom
Jenny Black, Gatewood P.E.E.P.
Walter Boxton, Woodside High
Deborah Carter, Achievable Dream Middle & High
Mequisha Collier, An Achievable Dream Academy
Christine Delgrosso, Child Nutrition/Warehouse
Alda Eley, Discovery STEM Academy
Bobbi Emerick, Greenwood Elementary
Toriano Etheridge, Hidenwood Elementary
Anne Evans, Lee Hall Elementary
Taylor Faulk, Nelson Elementary
Christine Felts, Saunders Elementary
Kacie Francis, Yates Elementary
Sharise Gary, Transportation
James Gatling, Passage Middle
Kasey Gatling, Watkins Early Childhood Center
Donna Glover, Human Resources/Payroll
Calvin Hendricks, Hilton Elementary
Michael Hillier, Denbigh High
Paul Jackson, Epes Elementary
Ruth Johnson, Jenkins Elementary
Traci Leonard, Technology/Accountability
Terri Keesee, Menchville High
Carolyn Montier, Huntington Middle
Stacy Moore, Deer Park Elementary
Lawanda Moss, McIntosh Elementary
Delvickio Neal, Plant Services
Phyllis Paige, Newsome Park Elementary
Denise Pickett, Palmer Elementary
Marleen Press, Dutrow Elementary
Sandy Pressey, Hines Middle
Lolita Purter, Richneck Elementary
Daniel Roldan, Dozier Middle
Joanne Spruill, Heritage High
Wilma Thomas, Sedgefield Elementary
Sandra Toler, Sanford Elementary
Carolyn Stevens, Crittenden Middle
Ann Warfield, Gildersleeve Middle
Charmin Wells, Marshall Early Learning Center
Weymouth Williams, Enterprise Academy
Valerie Wolfe, Lee Hall Early Childhood Center
Jessica Woods, Denbigh Early Childhood Center
Marcella Woolley, Charles Elementary
Felicia Wooten-Higgs, South Morrison/Denbigh Learning Center
Superintendent's Teacher Advisory Group
Colleen Alleyne, Epes Elementary
Nicholette Amburgey, Jenkins Elementary
Olivia Anderson, Palmer Elementary
Marsha Atwell-Brown, Passage Middle School
Crystal Bonser, Sedgefield Elementary
Veronica Brown, Gildersleeve Middle School
Kelly Carasquero, Saunders Elementary
Summer Chambers-Harmon, Kiln Creek Elementary
Keldie Chewning, General Stanford Elementary
Marta Cintron, Woodside High School
Karen Ciotta, Greenwood Elementary
Ashley Coleman, Hines Middle School
Tanisha Davis, Denbigh High School
Donzaleigh Douglas, Warwick High School
Jennifer Fortunato, Crittenden Middle School
Briana Foster, An Achievable Dream Academy
Ashley Froestad, Lee Hall Elementary
Kelly Garner, Point Option
Theresa Garrison, Riverside Elementary
Faith Gilliam, Carver Elementary
Iris Harris-Williams, Enterprise Academy
Kristen Harrison, Hidenwood Elementary
Katharine Hoel, Lee Hall Early Childhood Center
Sarah Hoyer, Kiln Creek Elementary
Eric Johnson, Dozier Middle School
Stephanie Johnson, Nelson Elementary
Tiffany Jones, General Stanford Elementary
LaTonia Kelley, Achievable Dream Middle & High
Brenda King, McIntosh Elementary
Amy Kovac, Richneck Elementary
Scott Krause, Heritage High School
Lacy Lozaw, Charles Elementary
Mary McBurnette, Richneck Elementary
Melissa Patterson, Dutrow Elementary
Consuelo Pyatt, Denbigh Early Childhood Center
CMSgt. Chris Rambali, Menchville High School
Nolan Rheinish, Hilton Elementary
Grace Rivera, B.T. Washington Middle School
Heather Roberts, Marshall Early Learning Center
Sarah Schmitt, Newsome Park Elementary
Alaina Shorter, Discovery STEM Academy
Shannon Skiffington, Gatewood P.E.E.P.
Paige Smith, Denbigh Early Childhood Center
Theresa St. Ours, Watkins Early Childhood Center
Rachel Swords, Sanford Elementary
Martha Tereska, Yates Elementary
Imam Mohammed Asadi, Al'qba Islamic Center
Rev. Dr. Beverly Ashburn, Friendship Baptist Church
Rev. Dr. Jerome Barber, Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Temple
Paul Bowes, Ret. Federal Contractor
Wendell Braxton, 100 Black Men of America, Inc.
Rev. Dr. Corey Brown, Providence Baptist Church
Mayra Creed, Newport News Hispanic Advisory Council
Rev. Dr. Reginald Dawkins, Triumph Christian Church
Hae Jung Goldman, People to People, Inc.
Rev. Ivan Harris, First Baptist Church – Denbigh
Teddy Hicks, Former School Board Chairman
Thaddeus Holloman, Sr., Old Point National Bank
Rev. Dr. Gregory Howard, First Baptist Church East End
Rev. Dr. Willard Maxwell, Jr., New Beech Grove Baptist Church
Rev. Antonio Newsome, Wesley Grove Baptist Church
Mr. O.H. Smith, Jr., O.H. Smith Funeral Home
Rev. Kevin Swann, Ivy Baptist Church
Christopher Watkins, MegaGenesis
Rev. Dr. Brian Wells, Carver Memorial Presbyterian Church
Edith White, Hampton Roads Community Action Program
Dr. Jeremiah Williams, 100 Black Men of America, Inc.
Rev. Dr. Reginald Woodhouse, First Baptist Church – Jefferson Park
Employee Communications Forum
Lori Armstead, Denbigh High
Teri Bane, Lee Hall Early Childhood Center
Toni Barnes, General Stanford Elementary
Amanda Bartley, Marshall Early Childhood Center
Mara Benson, Discovery STEM Academy
William Benz, Crittenden Middle
Diana Boone, Lee Hall Elementary
Dona Branch, Crittenden Middle
Melissa Brooks, Nelson Elementary
Carol Brown, Carver Elementary
Cynthia Brown, Nelson Elementary
Sara Brown, Jenkins Elementary
Jennifer Carr, Watkins Early Childhood Center
Sally Cate, Heritage High
Terri Clanton, Carver Elementary
Andrea Claxton, Point Option
Tanja Cole, Richneck Elementary
Marcus Cook, Riverside Elementary
Kimberly Cooper, Sedgefield Elementary
John Corcoran, General Stanford Elementary
Tammy Davis, Heritage High
Kim Decoster, Riverside Elementary
Justin Dewall, B.T. Washington Middle
Mavis Dixon, Point Option
Sofia Douglas, Heritage High
Thrya Duck, Enterprise Academy
Michael Edwards, Woodside High
Latasha Elliott-Rodgers, Greenwood Elementary
Elizabeth Evans, Lee Hall Elementary
LaVerne Flowers, Warwick High
Kacie Francis, Yates Elementary
Willie Gause, Enterprise Academy
Kristyn Gonzalez, Watkins Early Childhood Center
Elizabeth Goodwin, Lee Hall Early Childhood Center
Laura Greenfield, Discovery STEM Academy
Brenda Grizzard, Hilton Elementary
Kathryn Hamilton, Denbigh High
Jennifer Hare-Jarman, Denbigh Early Childhood Center
Iris Harris Williams, Enterprise Academy
Dorien Hart, Woodside High
Whitney Hickman, Watkins Early Childhood Center
Kendra High, Hidenwood Elementary
Peggy Hobgood, Gatewood PEEP
Christine Holmes, Jenkins Elementary
Penny Hudson, Saunders Elementary
Robin Hyman, McIntosh Elementary
Jeff Joyner, Sanford Elementary
Lori Kandel, Dutrow Elementary
Pam Krzeski, Yates Elementary
Kishawna Langhorne, Watkins Early Childhood Center
Wendy Lash, Saunders Elementary
Alden Lawrence, Enterprise Academy
Denise Lee, Hines Middle
Krista Lewis, Hidenwood Elementary
Brittany Liberta, Riverside Elementary
Ellen Marshall, Menchville High
Donta Mason, Achievable Dream Middle & High
Kristen Mcallister, Dozier Middle
Rita Milby, Jenkins Elementary
Luany Mobley, Gatewood PEEP
Laura Morello, Hilton Elementary
Jennifer Nemo, Discovery STEM Academy
Richard Osmer, Sedgefield Elementary
Phyllis Paige, Newsome Park Elementary
Lynn Parker, Yates Elementary
Denise Pickett, Palmer Elementary
John Pickett, Sedgefield Elementary
Karen Porter, Menchville High
Celestal Powell, Woodside High
Alyssa Prast, Palmer Elementary
Michelle Priestley, McIntosh Elementary
Renee Reese, Huntington Middle
Karen Richardson, Marshall Early Childhood Center
Stephanie Sadler, Achievable Dream Middle & High
Brandy Santos, Dozier Middle
Patricia Scheld, Greenwood Elementary
Sara Schmitt, Newsome Park Elementary
Rebecca Shaffer, Hilton Elementary
Debra Shaw, Richneck Elementary
Kristin Shelton, Sedgefield Elementary
Roberta Shimek, Achievable Dream Academy
Megan Slade, Sedgefield Elementary
Tina Smith, Hidenwood Elementary
Stacy Smithley, Charles Elementary
Barry Stemmrich, Greenwood Elementary
Linda Stokes, Deer Park Elementary
Bev Tawney, Technology
Twala Thompson, Hidenwood Elementary
Melanie Toran, Heritage High
Mary Vause, Marshall Early Childhood Center
Laura Wade, Kiln Creek
Angelica Wagner, Epes Elementary
Rhonda Wagner, Denbigh High
Rebecca Walker, Menchville High
Antoine Watkins, Saunders Elementary
Charmin Wells, Marshall Early Childhood Center
Vander White, Gildersleeve Middle
Brinklyn Williams, Palmer Elementary
Mukier Williams, Huntington Middle
Renee Williams, Sanford Elementary
Kimberly Winget, Deer Park Elementary
Tifani Wood, General Stanford Elementary
Brandon Wynne, Menchville High