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HCS is recognized as a School Division of Innovation

Hampton City Schools was recognized by the Virginia State Board of Education as one of 15 “School Divisions of Innovation” for designing and implementing alternatives to traditional instructional practices and school structures that improve student learning and promote college and career readiness, and good citizenship. The divisions are the first to earn the designation, which was authorized by the 2017 General Assembly.

HCS was recognized for implementing a Freshman Academy, implementing college-and-career-themed academies, and implementing extended enrichment learning programs.

  • Freshman Academy promotes a positive transition from middle school to high school and helps students adjust to high school expectations, routines, and standards in a supportive, nurturing environment. Career exploration activities allow students to see actual workplaces; meet with professionals; and gain real-world insights about jobs, careers, and industry. Project-based learning allows students to apply classroom learning in an authentic environment and to design a ten-year plan to guide them toward their definition of success. 
  • College- and career-themed academies (Academies of Hampton) designed and supported by community partners and aligned with local workforce needs, provide instruction and experiential learning through the lens of a career. Academies expose students to a variety of college and career options and help them make meaningful and relevant connections with the world outside of the classroom. The Academies’ interdisciplinary program of study involves both academic and career technical courses that give students the academic and technical knowledge and W5 Cs workplace skills required in 21st century careers in a global economy.
  • Extended Enrichment Learning Programs (EEL) extend the time that high school students are engaged in learning. Along with academic remediation and advancement opportunities, EEL offers students a time to investigate challenging real-world topics aligned with Freshman Academy and the career-themed academies. Using a business-connected, challenge-driven approach to engage students, EEL encourages students to explore their personal interests, research careers, engage in individualized and structured academic learning, apply academic and technical skills in community-connected and work-based challenges, and learn more about the community.

“I think it is fair to say that innovation has never been more important in public education than today as schools across the commonwealth and nation focus on improving distance learning in the face of a pandemic, while addressing inequities in opportunities and outcomes,” Board of Education President Daniel Gecker said. “I congratulate the leaders of all these school divisions for creating innovative plans to address the challenges in their schools and engage their students in deeper learning across the curriculum.”

Other divisions that received the recognition are Buchanan County Public Schools, Goochland County Public Schools, Henrico County Public Schools, Hopewell Public Schools, Loudon County Public Schools, Middlesex County Public Schools, Montgomery County Public Schools, Poquoson Public Schools, Roanoke County Public Schools, Salem Public Schools, Staunton Public Schools, Virginia Beach Public Schools, West Point Public Schools, and York County Public Schools.

“Virginia’s 132 school divisions have a history of sharing innovative and promising practices to improve student learning and outcomes and the School Division of Innovation recognition program is a means of institutionalizing this collaborative process,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane. “I look forward to visiting all of these school divisions to see how their innovations are transforming teaching and learning.”

To earn the School Division of Innovation designation, a local school board must submit a plan meeting criteria set forth in the Board of Education regulations governing the recognition program. Divisions earning the designation must submit an annual report to the Virginia Department of Education on progress toward meeting the goals and performance targets in their plans. Divisions retain the School Division of Innovation designation for three years.

Hampton City Schools (HCS) is one division undergoing one transformation, and in every action we take, we live our mission statement: In collaboration with our community, Hampton City Schools ensures academic excellence for every child, every day, whatever it takes. With the goal of fostering college and career readiness, HCS is transforming teaching and learning and the learning environment as it prepares graduates to meet the 21st century workforce demands. Along with providing students with content knowledge and technical skills, our instructional and learning opportunities incorporate experiences that encourage students to think critically and work collaboratively to make positive impacts in whichever career they pursue after graduating from high school. The Profile of a Virginia Graduate identifies the 5 C's: critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, collaboration and citizenship skills as essential 21st century skills. Along with the 5 C’s, the Profile of a Hampton Graduate recognizes the important role emotional and social wellness plays in living a healthy and successful life (W5 Cs). HCS is developing life-ready students through implementation of the Profile of a Virginia Graduate and the W5 Cs skills framework in our curriculum, social-emotional learning, and real-world performance assessments. By integrating career learning in PreK-12 schools and extended enrichment learning experiences, HCS’ College and Career Readiness Plan, known as One Division, One Transformation, ensures that our young people graduate ready for postsecondary pursuits and the workforce.