Newport News Public Schools update for March 2019

Social worker named tops in the state

Donna Thornton receives recognition from Superintendent Dr. George Parker (left) and School Board Chairman Gary Hunter (right).

Donna Thornton was selected as Social Worker of the Year by the Virginia Association of School Social Workers.

Thornton supports students by addressing a variety of issues that might have an impact on the student’s ability to learn, including social/emotional stressors, truancy, family challenges, substance abuse, mental health issues and crises.

“Mrs. Thornton is a servant at heart and is dedicated to reaching and helping as many children and families as she can,” said Richard Dirmeyer, supervisor of student advancement for Newport News Public Schools.

Thornton has spent her 28-year professional career as a school social worker with Newport News Public Schools, serving students in preschool, elementary and middle school.

She is an active member of the Virginia Association of School Social Workers, where she has twice served as Tidewater chair (1996-2000 and 2012-2017) and as state president (1998–2000). She currently serves as secretary of the Tidewater region.

NNPS to expand gifted education services

The gifted program provides a multidisciplinary curriculum incorporating critical thinking and problem solving.

Newport News Public Schools will expand its gifted services program by serving students who are gifted in career and technical aptitude and visual and performing arts in grades three through five beginning with the 2020-2021 school year.

Students identified as gifted with career and technical aptitude demonstrate superior reasoning skills, technical curiosity, exceptional problem-solving skills and creative and imaginative expression beyond their age-level peers in career, technical and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) principles.

Students identified as gifted with visual and performing arts aptitude demonstrate, as evident in their portfolios of work and other specified criteria, superior creative reasoning and imaginative expression; persistent artistic curiosity; and advanced acquisition and mastery of techniques, perspectives, concepts and principles beyond their age-level peers in visual arts and/or performing arts.

Newport News Public Schools serves more than 2,700 students in kindergarten through 12th grade who have been identified as gifted intellectually. The NNPS programs include primary TAG for kindergarten through second grade students; a Specific Abilities in Major Subjects (SAMS) Program for high-ability learners in grades three through five; full-time classes for students in second through eighth-grade; and honors, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Dual Enrollment coursework for high school students.

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