Newport News Public Schools Update – October 2019

Governor names NNPS Chief Academic Officer to STEM Commission

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has appointed Dr. James Pohl, chief academic officer, to the Virginia Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education Commission. Pohl brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Commission and its vision. Prior to joining Newport News Public Schools in July 2019, he served as executive director of Secondary Teaching and Learning in Virginia Beach City Public Schools. He has 23 years of experience in public education, having served as a math teacher, assistant principal and principal.

Dr. James Pohl

Pohl is one of 44 professionals named to the Commission, whose members include a wide range of state and local stakeholders, including representatives of early childhood, K–12, post-secondary, out-of-school, informal and environmental education programs, as well as workforce development, business and industry partners from every region of Virginia.

“I am honored to serve on the STEM Education Commission, and I look forward to working with educators and business professionals from across Virginia to ensure that all young people are prepared for the skilled, high-demand STEM careers of the 21st century,” says Pohl.

The Commission will seek to address the educational inequities, which often limit access to advanced courses in STEM disciplines, credentials and work-based learning for many of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable and underrepresented students. In doing so, the Commission will support state efforts to close the achievement-opportunity gaps in STEM-related fields, meet the growing economic demand for STEM-prepared employees and help Virginia maintain its recognition as the best state for business.

Newport News Launches CyberSTEAM Program

Newport News Public Schools launched a CyberSTEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) program at seven schools this year, thanks to a grant from the Department of Defense Education Agency.

The CyberSTEAM program began in September at Denbigh Early Childhood Center, B.C. Charles Elementary, General Stanford Elementary, Kiln Creek Elementary, Nelson Elementary, Dozier Middle and Passage Middle School. The program exposes students to coding, robotics and a game-based cybersecurity curriculum.

CyberSTEAM is designed to activate computational thinking and problem-solving skills. Students make connections between the language of computer science and fun STEAM activities in several computer science strands: algorithms and programming, computing systems, cybersecurity, data and analysis, impacts of computing, and networks and the Internet.

CyberSTEAM is a method of teaching that is embedded into existing courses. Students gain access to new technologies, an after school club and online curriculum resources during the school year.

Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing career fields. CyberSTEAM is designed to develop students’ problem-solving, computational thinking and digital literacy.

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