As I often can be heard saying, great things are happening in Newport News Public Schools (NNPS). From magnet schools and Governor’s Academies to early college and extended learning programs, Newport News Public Schools has numerous academic programs and options for families in our city. Whether a student dreams of becoming a nuclear physicist, a medical professional or a musical theater director, NNPS has a program or course of study for that student.
Students at all levels are exposed to minds-on, hands-on learning experiences in STEM, and our curriculum combines the Virginia Standards of Learning with the school division’s college, career and citizen-ready skills (information literacy, communication, critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity and innovation, initiative and self-direction, social responsibility and collaboration) to better prepare students for success as learners, future employees and contributing citizens.
Our approach to educating our city’s young people has not gone unnoticed. NNPS has earned recognition and numerous national awards for our curriculum. In March, our English as a Second Language program was named a grand-prize winner in the 2018 Magna Awards program for supporting English Learners from enrollment through graduation. Since 2010, the school board has been recognized 10 times in the Magna Awards program for such innovative programs as SPARK, the Summer Program for Arts, Recreation and Knowledge; online learning; the spring break student internship program; and the dropout prevention and recovery program.
Many business and industry leaders ask me how NNPS is preparing students for future careers. I am always proud to share that our school division is a leader in career-readiness. Our school division has more than 65 career and technical education (CTE) courses that students can take while in middle school and high school. These courses are designed around industry standards for high-wage, high-demand and high-skill careers in healthcare, manufacturing, hospitality and tourism, government and public administration, family and consumer sciences, communications, business management and STEM. CTE courses prepare students for more than a dozen career and industry certifications, the same certifications available at local and national career colleges.
NNPS students can take these courses without leaving their high schools and earn certifications in Microsoft Office, EKG, phlebotomy, criminal justice, emergency and fire management services and more. More than 22 other courses and certifications are available to students through New Horizons Regional Education Center. Successful completion of the certification process ensures that our students are prepared for success in the current labor market since professional certifications are based on industry performance requirements. Industry and professional certifications are valuable credentials that give our students a competitive edge.
The school division also offers an Early College and an Early Career program. The 21st century job market will require students to successfully complete some post-secondary education. This is why NNPS is committed to giving all students access to coursework and experiences that will guarantee their readiness for all post-secondary options. Through the Early College program, high school seniors may earn up to 19 semester hours of college credit prior to high school graduation in this unique partnership with Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC). During their senior year, students complete their high school coursework in the first semester and attend TNCC in the second semester. High school juniors and seniors also have the option of earning college credit and high school credit concurrently through dual-enrollment courses at TNCC and Norfolk State University. The Early Career Program gives high school seniors a jump-start on their careers. 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.
Families have numerous options and opportunities throughout the school division to prepare their students for higher education, quality careers and the workforce. I invite you to see for yourself how Newport News Public Schools is preparing students for successful futures. Give us a call and we will arrange a tour.
I am proud of the innovations and progress that Newport News schools are making. There are indeed many great things happening in Newport News Public Schools.