Hampton City Schools partners with Ford for career academies

Last month, the Hampton School Board officially entered into a partnership with Ford Next Generation Learning to create new career academies in Hampton's high schools.

The arrangement, which also includes the Peninsula Workforce Development, has been in the works since talks began in April 2015. After site visits from Ford Next Generation Learning (NGL) and consultation with Superintendent Jeffery Smith last year, the board approved the partnership in a 6-0 vote.

The partnership will cost the division $90,000 over three years. The work will be done in three phases: vision, planning and implementation.

Hampton City Schools has several academies within its high schools, but School Board chairwoman Martha Mugler said Ford NGL will provide the framework to make the new career pathways more comprehensive.

"The Ford network has a deeper approach to academies than what we've been doing," Mugler said. "Ford NGL lays it all out in a very formatted way for us and it also is a group that we believe is going to help us as a division to partner with businesses and other folks in the community to develop curriculum that's really rich and deeply career-oriented, and that's something that's different than what we've done in the past.

"The other piece that's different about Ford and this endeavor is that we're looking at a wall-to-wall academy concept, which is really not what we have going on in our high schools right now," Mugler added. She said that a student might take classes in a hypothetical engineering and architecture academy that could apply to other career paths than just engineering or architecture. That approach, she said, provides a more engaged learning experience for students.

The next step is the development of a master plan in collaboration with the community. When school begins in September, freshmen students will have opportunities to "explore a variety of entry points into career themes and learn to navigate a personal career pathway," according to a presentation given to the School Board in January.


Science Bowl to be held Saturday

The Jefferson Lab is hosting the Virginia Regional High School Science Bowl on Saturday.

Teams from 19 schools across the state, including Gloucester High School, New Horizons Governor's School for Science and Technology, and Warwick High School, are registered to compete.

The teams will play Jeopardy-style question-and-answer rounds, complete with hand buzzers. Questions will cover math and a range of science topics, including biology, chemistry, physics and energy.

The winning team wins an expenses-paid trip to the National Science Bowl Finals in Washington, D.C., in late April. The top three teams earn cash prizes and team trophies.

The competition will be held in the CEBAF Center auditorium at 12000 Jefferson Ave. in Newport News. The semifinal and final rounds are open to the public and will begin about 1 p.m.


Aviation Academy provides toys for children

Members of Denbigh High School Aviation Academy's SkillsUSA chapter partnered with the Newport News Department of Human Services to spread holiday cheer in December.

As part of a community service project, students at the school took home plane-shaped name tags that listed foster children's names and bought the child's desired holiday gift. The toy drive benefited 102 children. In all, the Department of Human Service's holiday program reached more than 700 families and 1,500 children.

SkillsUSA is a national career and technical student organization that helps build workforce skills. Aspects of the leadership portion of SkillsUSA include extemporaneous speaking, prepared speech, quiz bowl and community service, such as the Aviation Academy's project.

The district-wide SkillsUSA leadership competition, where Aviation Academy's chapter will present the project, will be held at New Horizons Regional Education Center on Feb. 11.


Hampton board to meet Wednesday

The Hampton School Board will hold a regularly scheduled meeting Feb. 3 at Jones Magnet Middle School.

On the agenda for the meeting is a presentation about Langley Elementary School's English as a Second Language Program, along with an accountability update regarding accreditation of schools.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. at 1819 Nickerson Blvd. It can be viewed on Cox Channel WHCS 46, FIOS Channel 20 or at http://hampton.k12.va.us. The full agenda can be viewed at http://bit.ly/hschools.