This Just In #355:  Week of December 12, 2016
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This Just In #355: Week of December 12, 2016

Welcome to This Just In, a weekly news show
highlighting the people and events in Newport News Public Schools. And this week we’re showcasing the activities
and events surrounding American Education Week. The purpose of American Education Week is
to celebrate public education and honor the hardworking individuals who insure all students
receive a quality education. 5th graders at Nelson Elementary celebrated
the week by getting a jumpstart on their college readiness skills. Professional School Counselor, Christina Buckingham,
collaborated with a number of teachers and staff to create a thorough investigative discovery
project revolving around colleges. During the first phase of the College Inquiry
Project, Library Media Specialist, Jessica Winkley, assisted students with their research
of a college of their choosing. By accessing and collecting multiple credited
sources into their graphic organizer, the students began to learn about the cost of
tuition, requirements that colleges look for in applicants, the difference between an undergraduate
and Master’s program, and important facts about each college. Next, the 5th grade classes took a guided
tour of Christopher Newport University. For many students, this was their first glimpse
into life on campus, including how dorms are setup, academic buildings, and access to health
and recreation facilities. With this firsthand exploration fresh in mind,
each classroom worked on an interactive math project which will come in handy seven years
from now. Given a limited budget of $500, the students
learned the important difference between wants and needs, as they shopped for the school
supplies, computer equipment, linens, and furniture they will need to furnish their
fictional dorm room and sustain their freshman year at college. To wrap up their College Inquiry Project,
the entire 5th grade hosted a College Fair Expo for their parents and 3rd and 4th grade
student. Colorful poster boards and digital slideshows
collected all the students’ findings and allowed them to communicate their discoveries to younger
students. Students also displayed their college entrance
essays, while others were able to recite their prospective school’s cheer. So, when these fifth graders graduate high
school in 2024, they’ll already have the knowledge and insight to transition to college smoothly. Richneck Elementary celebrated American Education
Week by recognizing the school’s unsung heroes, and inviting families into the classroom to
join in the fun of learning. Each day, Professional School Counselor Tarri
Jones, designed fun themes and a variety of activities to celebrate the academic rigor
and excellence that students receive every day at Richneck. Throughout the week, parents were invited
on the school’s televised morning show to talk about their careers, helping to introduce
a number of new and interesting occupations to the students. One morning, Pastries for Parents allowed
families to eat a delicious breakfast together, with school staff providing pastries and juice. Parents and grandparents of Kindergarten to
3rd grade students were invited into the classrooms to participate in the morning activity stations
or read a story to the excited students. And every student made time to write multiple
thanks you cards to the hardworking support staff that’s vital to a school’s success. Through colorful drawings and inspirational
words staff members, including bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodial staff, and the
school’s nurse, received a huge thanks from a grateful school. A ceremony at Deer Park Elementary celebrated
the school’s achievement for being named a 2016 National Blue Ribbon School. Every year, the U.S. Department of Education celebrates the best schools in America. And Deer Park Elementary is now on this prestigious
list by earning the designation as a 2016 National Blue Ribbon School. The Deer Park family held a ceremony to celebrate
their academic excellence and continued success. The National Blue Ribbon School Award affirms
the hard work and dedication of many involved members, with students, educators, families,
and community partners all playing a role in Deer Park’s academic success. During Deer Park’s Blue Ribbon Ceremony, Principal
Mary Jo Anastasio made a comparison to a successful NFL Football team, and how everyone from the
owner, coaches, players, and fans plays a role in a team winning the Super Bowl. For Deer Park, their team has now made it
to the championship game and won big. Menchville High school’s Marching Band and
Deer Park’s students added a musical touch to the festivities. Students and staff wore a sea of blue in honor
of the dedication. And the school proudly hoisted the iconic
Blue Ribbon flag, a lasting symbol of Deer Park’s educational achievement. Among Newport News Public Schools, Deer Park
is the 13th school to receive this coveted award since its implementation in 1982. And for 34 years, fewer than 8,500 schools
have received this recognition nationwide. Deer Park has been specifically recognized
in the Exemplary High Performing Schools category, for continually exceeding state and federal
benchmarks, while the school’s Environmental Science Magnet program allows students to
flourish through discovery, collaborative exploration, and hands-on scientific research. And students and teachers are revved up for
another winning season next year. Denbigh Early Childhood Center hosted a pirate
themed evening to encourage young readers to put the “argh” in “Reading”. During the Family Literacy night, preschool
students joined an epic scavenger hunt in search of every letter in the alphabet. After completing their hunt, students exchanged
their treasure maps for a free book to take home. And teachers helped students make the best
literary choice based on their reading level and personal interests. Meanwhile, the pre-kindergarten students enjoyed
dressing up in the photo booth, and teachers sold snacks to raise money for Relay for Life. The entire evening helped the young landlubbers
uncover the priceless treasures that books offer as they become lifelong readers. Bonjour! In celebration of National French Week, students
from Warwick High school visited nearby Riverside Elementary to teach the younger students the
French language. 9 members of Warwick’s French Club and French
Honor Society visited several Riverside classrooms to share French history, the alphabet, numbers,
and colors. The elementary students followed along with
handouts and enjoyed speaking the romantic language themselves for the first time. Warwick students consistently volunteer at
Riverside during the school year to reinforce citizenship traits. But this is the first time that Warwick’s
French students have shared language skills. French Teacher LaVerne Flowers, and 4th grade
teacher Samantha Sissell, coordinated the partnership. The Warwick students were excited to share
their French knowledge, and the elementary students are eager to learn more about the
French language and culture. During the month of November, things got a
little hairy at Woodside High school. 25 bearded and distinguished staff members
skipped their daily waxing treatments and let their manes grow wild. As part of No-Shave November, the Wolverine
men embraced their follicle growths in honor of those that lose their hair from cancer
treatments. Assistant Principal, Carl Williams, led the
effort as the burly men of Woodside raised $680 in memory of former history teacher,
David Wallace. As one of the original teachers at Woodside
when it opened in 1996, Wallace was beloved by students and respected by fellow teachers. It was rare to see Wallace without his signature
Hawaiian shirts. Money raised during No-Shave November, and
Hawaiian shirt days during the school year, will go into the David Wallace Memorial Scholarship
Fund, which will help fund at least one baby-faced senior’s dream of becoming a history teacher
or majoring in the field of education. Winter break is coming up and schools will
be closed from December 22nd through January 2nd. Schools and offices will dismiss after a half-day
on Wednesday, December 21st,then close on December 22nd. Students and staff will report back to school
on Tuesday, January 3rd. Thanks for joining us for this week’s edition
of This Just In. And check out more fun and informative videos
at to see the many great things happening in Newport News Public Schools. Thanks for watching.

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