NPS Now Newsletter
Message from the Superintendent
Welcome to the 2022-2023 school year! We look forward to a tremendous year of engaged learning and a continuation of the growth in student learning accomplished last year.
Norfolk Public Schools has so much in store for our students, staff, and community in the months to come. We will build on the gains achieved last school year, while continuing to use data to focus on supports to meet the needs of each student. Student excellence remains our top priority – to create authentic and culturally relevant learning experiences so that each student will be a creative, collaborative, civic-minded, critical thinker with effective communication skills.
In collaboration with the City of Norfolk School Board, the NPS administration is working to finalize the school division’s strategic plan, entitled “Continuing the Drive: Equity & Excellence for All” to guide our work over the next five years. This strategic plan was developed in partnership with our community and includes aspirational goals and strategies for student excellence, workforce, resources, community, and safety and climate to strengthen all of NPS. The division also has been making steady progress towards achieving our goal of improving our aging infrastructure so that our students are educated in school buildings that are worthy of them.
Norfolk Public Schools, in partnership with the City of Norfolk, plans a historically significant investment in capital improvement that will allow the division to address building needs. Within this newsletter, you will find information regarding plans for Maury High School and Booker T. Washington High School. Additionally, the School Board voted in March to close Tidewater Park Elementary School and to transition its students to an updated, 3-8 school in the building that currently serves as a school for the students of Ruffner Middle School. The repurposed school will include a specialty program with city-wide choice seats. This transition is now in the planning phase, and its planning committee includes community members.
As we embark upon the 2022-2023 school year, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect daily life here and around the world. Please continue to evaluate your child(ren)’s health each day using the now-familiar COVID-19 symptoms checklist, and please do not send a sick child to school. Although we are still using mitigation factors to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, last year we were able to open our doors to volunteers. If you would like to be a part of what makes NPS great, please consider serving as a volunteer. Simply visit www.npsk12.com/volunteer, and fill out an application!
With that, I extend to you my warmest wishes for health and academic success in this school year.
The 2022-2023 athletic season is underway for fall high school sports. The middle school fall season began on August 29, 2022. In order to participate, student athletes must meet the following requirements:
- have a valid physical, dated after May 1, 2022; review the NPS athletic website for a complete schedule;
- participate in the annual concussion education training for parents and athletes;
- have a completed COVID Education Form that is signed by a parent/guardian; and
- be eligible for participation. All first time 9th-graders are eligible. All first-time 6th graders are eligible. HS student athletes must have passed a minimum of 5 year-long courses and have a GPA of at least 2.0 (from previous school year or cumulative GPA); MS students must have passed 5 of the 8 courses (from the previous school year or cumulative GPA), and have a GPA of at least a 2.0 from the previous school year.
This information can be reviewed on the NPS athletics web page. Student athletes should contact their school’s athletic director for additional information pertaining to the school in which they attend.
Sports need good sportsmanship
Norfolk Public Schools’ athletic programs are ready for the 2022-23 kickoff! As we gear up for another successful season, athletic programs across the city are focusing on POSITIVE SPORTSMANSHIP for all involved. This includes coaches, student athletes, and fans. Each of these individuals plays a critical role in displaying POSITIVE SPORTSMANSHIP during athletic events.
Superintendent Byrdsong, building principals, athletic directors, and members of the Norfolk School Board expect all participants to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner during athletic contests.
- Coaches: Model integrity, fair play, and respect to officials.
- Student Athletes: Practice self-control, have a positive attitude, and be supportive in all situations.
- Fans: Cheer in a supportive manner for your team, and maintain self-control. Acknowledge outstanding effort from both teams.
During the past year, the Virginia High School League reported a record number of sportsmanship violations across the league and in all sports. We all play a part in reversing this trend. We want all fans to enjoy the contest. It is critically important to define the appropriate way to be a fan. It is also important to define inappropriate conduct such as cursing, expletive-laced chants or any type of hate speech. There is no place for this type of behavior during NPS athletic events (home or away contests).
The NPS Athletics Department encourages everyone to get involved and to stay involved. Join a team, volunteer with your school’s athletic department, and attend an athletic event. Check out the NPS and schools’ athletic web pages for all schedules, team information, and ticket purchases for athletic events.
GOOD LUCK TO ALL TEAMS DURING THE 2022-2023 YEAR.
Before and after care
Norfolk Public Schools continues to collaborate with childcare providers throughout Norfolk to ensure parents/guardians have access to before and after care programs for their child(ren) during the 2022-2023 school year.
These programs will be hosted in various school buildings and the City of Norfolk's recreation centers to support parents/guardians who work before and after school hours.
Please be aware that most programs do not include before care options. Providers and site locations will be continually updated throughout the school year. Here is the current list of NPS Before and After Care Programs.
The list provides links to agencies’ websites, where you can find contact information, and the agencies’ latest safety measures and procedures due to COVID-19.
COVID strategies and requirements
As the new academic year begins, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have provided updated guidance on health mitigation strategies to address COVID-19 pandemic conditions. CDC guidance has become less restrictive. Full contact tracing will no longer be used on a regular basis. NPS will continue to employ contact tracing as needed in instances of outbreaks, such as three or more positive cases in a specific, isolated group.
Norfolk Public Schools will continue to promote mitigation measures including: maximizing ventilation with open windows, ventilators, and air sanitizers; holding activities outside when possible; encouraging good hygiene practices with hand washing and hand sanitizing stations; and cleaning and disinfection of hard surfaces.
Families should continue to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. Please do not send a sick child to school. Self-test if you suspect you are sick and isolate from school following a positive COVID-19 test.
Should community transmission levels increase, the division will consider additional mitigation measures.
NPS has communicated with the Norfolk Department of Public Health regarding the need for conditional enrollment for students that have not met immunization requirements as we open the 2022-2023 academic year. Due to the perceived and actual difficulty of students getting their required immunizations, conditional enrollment will be allowed. The deadline for meeting immunization requirements will be October 6, 2022. Students will need to be barred from school attendance if they have not followed through with getting their required immunizations by this date. If they are missing a series of shots that requires two or more doses, the first dose must be administered by the due date (October 6, 2022) and the next dose scheduled to be in compliance.
It is required that each school division turn in a vaccination report to the Virginia Department of Health by the due date so that the school division will be in compliance with the Virginia school health mandate.
The Norfolk Department of Public Health officials indicated that they are continuing to make immunization appointments for students that need them. Current appointments are full, but they have some available in the coming weeks. Parents should also check with their primary care physicians, urgent care centers, and local pharmacies for additional appointment opportunities.
School transition and construction efforts: Booker T., Maury, and Ruffner
With a historic investment of $167.6 million in its capital improvement plan, Norfolk Public Schools is poised to undertake generational construction and building improvement projects that directly address one of the division’s top priorities: improving our aging infrastructure so that our students are educated in buildings that are worthy of them.
A significant portion of this investment, approximately $150 million, is needed to replace or renovate Maury High School, a building that has served Norfolk families for more than a century. The time has come to provide a permanent solution to this deteriorating structure.
The School Board is currently considering four options for Maury High School. Two options propose major renovations. Two propose new construction with demolition of the current structure. Conversations about Maury High School will continue through the fall, with further discussion by the School Board. Community meetings have been scheduled for 6 p.m., September 28, 2022, at Maury High School, 322 Shirley Avenue, and for 6 p.m. October 12, 2022 at St. Helena Elementary School, 903 S. Main Street.
Approximately $30 million has been designated to provide roof and window replacements at Booker T. Washington High School. Additionally, the division has begun work on a feasibility study of the school’s academic programs and how they align with the current physical structure. Further discussion of these plans will also continue through the fall by the School Board.
Community input meetings have been scheduled for 6 p.m., September 22, 2022 in the cafeteria of Booker T. Washington High School, 1111 Park Avenue, Norfolk, and 6 p.m. October 6, 2022, in the cafeteria of Ruffner Academy, 610 May Avenue.
Finally, the School Board last year approved a plan to transition Ruffner Academy from a middle school to a school for grades three through eight with a specialty program that offers city-wide choice seats. Planning for this transition, including community conversations, will take place during the 2022-2023 school year, with the new program slated to open for the 2023-2024 school year. As part of this transition Tidewater Park Elementary School will close and its students enroll at the revamped Ruffner.
For updates on all these projects, visit www.npsk12.com/educationalplanning throughout the year.
Norfolk Public Schools is Continuing the Drive toward Equity and Excellence for All! At the start of the 2020-2021 school year, Superintendent Dr. Sharon I. Byrdsong introduced five aspirational goals entitled the Drive for Five that created a focus for the division. Now, NPS has built upon these goals with input from stakeholder groups including parents/guardians, teachers, students, and our community in collaboration with a strategic planning committee. The School Board of the City of Norfolk is scheduled to review the Continuing the Drive document at a meeting this fall. Watch for updates and our progress on these goals on all our channels, including www.npsk12.com
The Department of School Nutrition is pleased to announce that for the 2022-2023 academic school year, Norfolk Public Schools is implementing the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). The option is available to schools participating in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs that meet eligibility requirements. NPS will be able to cover every school in the division under the option.
All enrolled students attending a school within NPS are eligible to receive a healthy breakfast and lunch, free of charge, at school each instructional day during this school year. No further action is required of parents/guardians. Students will be able to participate in these meal programs without having to pay a fee or submit a meal application.
If you have questions or need help, please contact the staff of the Department of School Nutrition by emailing email@example.com, or by calling (757) 628-2760.
How to find school open house information
Be sure to check out your child’s(ren’s) school webpage(s), which can be found under the Schools + tab in the top right corner and under the search bar of www.npsk12.com. There you’ll find the latest school announcements and information. You will also find important dates to mark on your calendar, such as Open House. (Look below for elementary and secondary Open House and New Student Orientation dates already set.) And do not forget to review the 2022-2023 NPS Academic Calendar, located here.
Connect with Us
Our platforms offer a listening ear and a view into daily life within Norfolk Public Schools while supporting the division as it works to strengthen relationships, build partnerships, and inform students, parents/guardians, and community members about how they can affect public education in Norfolk.
Additionally, please ensure that your family’s contact information is up to date with your child(ren’s) school(s). That helps us contact you with important information such as school closings for inclement weather or division-wide announcements.
We look forward to connecting with you!
NPS has partnered with VectorSolutions to provide students, parents/guardians, and staff a safe way to report bullying and student-related matters anytime, anywhere, on any device through the Vector Alert Tip Reporting System application.
Text us, call us, e-mail us, or report it through the website, while remaining anonymous. As always, every tip is taken seriously and thoroughly investigated.
The app is available now to download to your device. To learn more, please visit https://nps-va.safeschoolsalert.com.
Norfolk Public Schools is pleased to partner with FEV Tutor to provide students with high-quality, division-sponsored, live, one-to-one virtual tutoring and homework help.
Virtual tutoring sessions can be scheduled in advance or requested on-demand. This virtual program can be accessed anytime, anywhere, and with any internet connected device. Simply visit www.fevtutor.com, and login with Clever.
FEV Tutor welcome emails will be sent on September 6th. Once this email is received, students are ready to get started! To schedule tutoring sessions, email NPS@fevtutor.com with the student's name, grade level, subject area needs, and the days/times of the week that work best for you.
If you have any questions about this free virtual tutoring program, please contact FEV Tutor directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-763-2607. FEV Tutor's Support Team is happy to answer any questions and work with you to create a personalized tutoring experience that best suits each student.
Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is the framework of discipline utilized within Norfolk Public Schools. This framework includes layers of support for academic, behavioral, social/emotional, and psychological needs. The PBIS framework layers support for all students based on data-driven needs using evidence-based practices and relies on relationship building and the teaching of behavioral expectations.
What does PBIS emphasize?
- School-wide expectations for behavior
- Reinforcement of compliance with expectations
- Direct teaching of expectations
- Data-based decision making
- Continuum of discipline including remediation and alternative-to-suspension strategies
The 2022-2023 NPS Student Handbook, including the Standards of Conduct, will help you understand how the school division works to ensure the learning environment is positive, affirming, and free of disruption.
Put simply, Norfolk Public Schools expects all within our division to be responsible, respectful, and safe.
Volunteer and partner with NPS
Norfolk Public Schools values its partnerships with families and community stakeholders. NPS welcomes volunteers to assist with educating students in unique ways. Volunteers can serve as a mentor, tutor, chaperone, and much more. If you are interested in volunteering with Norfolk Public Schools, visit the Community Engagement webpage, and apply today!
Military: Servicing Our Schools Day
On Thursday, August 18, 2022, Ingleside Elementary, Sewells Point Elementary, Tanners Creek Elementary, and Madison Alternative Center participated in Norfolk Public Schools’ and Norfolk Naval Station’s first Servicing Our Schools Day. Military volunteers directly supported the schools’ administration, teachers, and staff in preparing for the return of students. During the day, the volunteers moved textbooks and student furniture, created bulletin boards, and stuffed returning teacher bags.
The Navy has a strong interest in giving back to local communities by donating time to support school systems. Servicing Our Schools Day was an opportunity for the sailors to show teachers and students they care. Both NPS and the Navy plan for this partnership to grow so that more schools will benefit from the helping hands of the area’s military.
Like school divisions across the country, Norfolk Public Schools continues to face staffing shortages in its transportation division. NPS offers a starting pay of $21.64 per hour for bus drivers, the highest in the region, and pays for commercial driver’s license training. Additionally, NPS aggressively recruited drivers at multiple career fairs during the summer and will continue its hiring efforts at additional fairs scheduled for this fall.
Nonetheless, the Department of Transportation remains short of its hiring goals. NPS has adjusted bus routes and schedules in an effort to provide more efficient service. We appreciate your patience as we continue to face these challenges.
For information on your child’s(ren’s)bus stop, and to learn more about the Here Comes the Bus app, visit the division’s transportation web page.
Are you interested in joining the Norfolk Public Schools’ family? What are you waiting for? Visit our website for openings and to apply!
Also, check out the latest incentives for teachers and bus drivers!
And be sure to mark your calendars for the upcoming job fairs for classified positions on September 21 and October 19, 2022!
Summer wrap up
Lazy summer? No such thing within NPS! Our schools were filled with activity and learning, from summer school classes, to enrichment activities, to college and career preparations, to professional development, and summer school graduation ceremonies. Check out these videos to see all the amazing things warm weather brings for our students and staff!