Newport News Public Schools update – August 2023

Two NNPS schools earn Virginia Board of Education Exemplar Awards

Discovery STEM Academy students experience a lesson in music making.

Discovery STEM Academy and Greenwood Elementary School earned 2022–2023 Virginia Board of Education Exemplar Awards for Continuous Improvement. The Board of Education Exemplar School Recognition Program recognizes schools that exceed board-established requirements or show continuous improvement on academic and school quality indicators. 

Students and staff at Discovery STEM Academy increased its combined Standards of Learning (SOL) test pass rates in math, reading and science for the past three years and increased its combined pass rate by more than 10 points for two or more student groups in reading and math during the same time period.

First-grade students at Greenwood Elementary School conduct investigations with apples.

Greenwood Elementary School’s students and staff increased the combined SOL test pass rate for two or more student groups in reading and math during each of the last three school years. The school raised its pass rates by more than 10 points. 

In announcing the Exemplar Awards, Dr. Lisa Coons, Virginia superintendent of public instruction, stated, “I am elated to recognize school staff, students and the community for providing high expectations that have resulted in positive educational outcomes for all students.”

Dr. Michele Mitchell, interim superintendent of Newport News Public Schools, also expressed her congratulations, stating “I am very proud of these achievements. The success of Discovery STEM Academy and Greenwood Elementary School are a testament to the commitment of their staff, students and families. Together, they are making academic success a priority.”

Heritage High Music Department earns 2023 Blue Ribbon Award

Heritage High Music Department makes history with its first Blue Ribbon award.

Heritage High School Music Department earned a Virginia Music Educators Association 2023 Blue Ribbon Award. The award is the highest honor given to school music programs and recognizes excellence in the school’s band and choral performances. 

To earn the Blue Ribbon Award, all music disciplines in a school must receive a rating of “superior” during the state assessment. Each of the top performing groups from every ensemble course taught at Heritage earned a superior rating by performing two selections from approved grade music lists. All performing groups had to sight read or sight sing to be eligible for the award during the association’s District Concert Performance Assessment.

In addition to their performances during district events, the Heritage choral ensembles and band have performed at numerous events, showcasing their talents and bringing honor and pride to the Heritage school community. 

Heritage High School is a first-time Blue Ribbon Award winner.