Newport News Public Schools update – January 2021

Newport News school governance team becomes a VSBA Master Board

The Newport News Public School Board and superintendent are the second school governance team in Virginia to earn the designation of a Virginia School Boards Association Master Board. The team attended three sessions totaling more than 18 hours of professional development beginning in August and concluding on November 6. The discussions, facilitated by staff of the Virginia School Boards Association, focused on team building, improving communication, listening and board building behaviors.

The Newport News Public School Board and the superintendent focus on one mission: ensuring that all students graduate college, career and citizen-ready. The school division serves nearly 28,000 students in 42 schools. Under the dedicated leadership of the school board and the superintendent, the graduation rate has increased, instruction in STEM has expanded and students have access to magnet schools, governor’s academies and specialty programs. The school board members are Chairman Douglas Brown, Vice Chairman Lisa Surles-Law and members Rebecca Aman, Dr. Terri Best, John Eley, Marvin Harris and Gary Hunter. Superintendent of Schools is Dr. George Parker.

Students recognized in James River Association Poster Contest

Jazlyn Jones

Congratulations to Jazlyn Jones, seventh grader at Booker T. Washington Middle School, whose artwork has been chosen as the grand prize winner in the Tenth Annual James River Association Poster Contest.

Three other students from B.T. Washington Middle — Grayson Branton, Alexia Williams and Kamrynn Louder — earned honorable mentions in the contest. 

Grayson Branton
Alexia Williams
Kamrynn Louder

Staff Spotlight: Barnhill’s work key to Newport News Public Schools online start

Daniel Barnhill is the online learning systems coordinator in the Newport News Public Schools (NNPS) technology department and has been an integral part of the schools’ successful transition to virtual learning.

While NNPS had planned to introduce an online platform in classrooms, the onset of COVID-19 and the need to begin the school year virtually greatly accelerated that transition. Once Canvas was chosen as the platform for online teaching, members of the technology department had to prepare quickly to support teachers and train them to use a new set of techniques in a matter of weeks.

Beginning last spring, Barnhill worked with Canvas personnel, NNPS instructional supervisors and technology coaches to ensure teachers and students would have a positive virtual learning experience. His knowledge and expertise played an essential role in configuring Canvas and setting up courses and management protocols.

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