By George Parker, III, Ph.D., Superintendent, Newport News Public Schools
I am truly honored to serve as superintendent of Newport News Public Schools. To be selected to serve the families of this great city is indeed a privilege. Newport News Public Schools has long been an innovative school division featuring magnet schools, specialty career academies, a rigorous curriculum and extended learning opportunities. I am confident that with the dedicated support of our staff, families, business partners and the community, our school division will continue to progress.
As a newcomer, it will be important for me to look, listen and learn from the community as I transition into my leadership role and responsibilities. By doing so, I hope to honor long-standing traditions in our school division that have served our students well and make a focused effort to target those areas in need of improvement.
So what have I heard thus far in my first two months on the job? Our young people want an interactive and relevant education. They want to have a safe place to learn and adults who treat them respectfully. Parents want a rigorous curriculum to ensure our students are prepared for life. The business community wants a skilled workforce where students are exposed to a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and technical education curriculum that allows for exposure to real-world competencies and credentialing prior to leaving high school.
I believe that all of these things are important. The question that we must answer as a community will be: How can we ensure that these opportunities are available for all of our students?
What I have experienced in my short time here has been impressive:
- Students at all levels are engaged in hands-on and minds-on activities that prepare them for further education and rewarding careers in STEM.
- Through the Early College program, dual-enrollment initiatives, International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement and Honors courses, 85 percent of high school students are participating in rigorous coursework.
- High school students are earning industry and professional certifications, preparing them for future careers. In 2017, NNPS students earned 3,261 certifications, giving them access to advanced post-secondary opportunities, and high-skilled internships and careers.
Much of this work is led by a committed and competent teacher workforce. Successful student learning begins in the classroom with qualified teachers. If we continue to attract great teachers, then we will positively impact instruction every day in every classroom. I will work in partnership with our local universities, staff and community leaders to ensure that we attract and hire talented educators. Our students deserve the best!
I consider education my life’s calling and I am looking forward to building a stronger community together.
George Parker is superintendent of Newport News Public Schools and can be reached at 757-591-4502. For more information about Newport News Public Schools, visit the website
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