Education Programs from Across Virginia Featured in the 21st Annual VSBA Showcases for Success Directory
The Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) has released its 21st annual VSBA Showcases for Success directory, highlighting 118 successful K-12 programs in Virginia’s public schools. This year’s featured programs highlight successful projects related to Innovative Programs, School Initiatives, and Partnerships.
“In addition to highlighting some of the best practices taking place in Virginia’s schools, the VSBA Showcases for Success directory can serve as a starting point to develop similar programs in other school divisions,” said Gina G. Patterson, VSBA executive director, “It is important to highlight innovative programs at all levels in school divisions, and the VSBA Showcases for Success directory illustrates that there are excellent programs and initiatives taking place in Virginia’s public schools.”
The directory is available on the VSBA web site at www.vsba.org/showcases. A total of 118 programs from 56 school divisions from across Virginia are included.
Programs from Shenandoah County Public Schools
Cyber Literacy and Physics
Students in Matt Britton's physics class explain to School Board Members Katie Freakley and Cyndy Walsh and to Superintendent Dr. Mark Johnston how they are learning Cyber Literacy.
Unlocking future student success is now inextricably linked to the cyber world. Cyber related jobs have grown exponentially in the past few years. Preparing our students to be globally competitive in that high demand job market is essential. At Strasburg High School, we have taken on that challenge by introducing cyber concepts into the regular classroom environment, in a cross-curricular, project driven class. Students learn independently and cooperatively using the engineering design process. The students see how concepts of physics, robotics, and programming work in real-life applications. Student learning is not best defined by scores on a test, it is best defined by student responses such as ".... the class provided [me with] “hands-on” experiences that have shaped my future and I plan to continue to learn about these skills.” Several students in the class have shared that they are now considering a career in the cyber-related technology field.
Contact Matt Britton
Strasburg High School Teacher
NFMS Net Zero Science Lab
Mr. Woods' students demonstrate wind as alternative energy.
This student-led project has engaged community partnerships in both the development of and extension of an instructional science innovation that immerses students in real-life problem solving and applications using alternative energy to power a science classroom. The initiative stemmed from investigations conducted by 6th grade science students in response to an energy challenge presented by Dr. Jeremy Raley, then Superintendent of Shenandoah County Schools: “Find ways to use alternative energy in our schools to reduce dependence on the grid.” Students were tasked to describe what “net-zero” would look like at NFMS. The idea that emerged was that we recycle an unused modular classroom behind the school building into a Net Zero Science Lab. This program employs problem-based learning and authentic hands-on experiences in order to establish the essential elements of conservation in an innovative and collaborative setting and to connect conservation and efficiency to the fundamental principles of sustainability.
Contact: John Woods
North Fork Middle School Science Teacher
Unified Champion Schools - Special
Champions Together is a unified Special Olympics program that
includes students with and without intellectual disabilities.
Central High School is a school that has been recognized internationally as a school model for inclusion and unity through sport. President and Managing Director of Special Olympics North America and Middle East, Ayman Wahab, visited Central to observe the fitness mentorship program which allows students entering the field of fitness to develop and carry out adapted fitness activities for the special education students. Central also has developed an interscholastic unified track team that practices alongside the varsity track program. Due to their successful initiatives at CHS, a county-wide Special Olympics program was recently established and students with and without disabilities across the county are coming together for sporting events and practices regularly. In using sports as a catalyst, Shenandoah County Public Schools has established a comprehensive model for inclusion, acceptance and respect for all students. It is a model that focuses on ability rather than disability.
Contact: Megan Smith
Central High School Special Education Teacher
About the Virginia School Boards Association
Virginia School Boards Association, a voluntary, nonpartisan organization of Virginia school boards, promotes excellence in public education through leadership, advocacy, and services. The Association offers conferences, information, training, and counseling designed to meet the needs of the Commonwealth’s educational leaders.