Superintendent's Entry Plan
When we touch the minds and hearts of children we are literally shaping the future.
As we look ahead to the 2018-2019 school year, I am honored to serve as your superintendent. It is my goal to ensure that we continue to build on the great work of my predecessor while cultivating new opportunities to improve student achievement and opportunities for all students. A necessary process in beginning this work is the establishment of a 100-Day Entry Plan. The plan will give me the opportunity to LOOK, LISTEN and LEARN from our community, stakeholders and students during my first months on the job. While daily operations will require that I make any necessary decisions in support of organizational effectiveness, the information obtained during the entry planning process will ensure that future decisions are supported by a data-driven process.
The value of education was instilled in me at a young age by my mother. As a single parent, she would often sit my two siblings and me in the back of the classroom while she participated in nursing classes at Norfolk State University. Our summer days were filled with academic workbooks and weekly trips to the local library where we were allowed to select several books of interest. Consequently, it was in the home where I learned that intelligence was valued and affirmed. Through supportive adult relationships and a solid foundation in literacy and mathematics, I was able to free myself of the cultural and economic barriers that exist for many families. I believe that every child should have the opportunity to dream, explore and pursue whatever they want to become in life. Providing our children access to a solid education and caring adults can produce life-changing outcomes.
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve the students of Newport News Public Schools. Together, we will ensure that our schools are safe, nurturing and inspiring places for our students. Every child deserves a caring adult in their lives and an inspiring teacher in their classroom. It is my expectation that we will continue to earn your trust and support as we pursue our mission of becoming the premier school division in Virginia.
George Parker, III, Ph.D.
Newport News Public Schools
Organization of the Entry Plan
The plan was developed to assess the status of significant areas of the school division's current strategic plan as well as key division leverage points. The entry plan is organized to assess the work of the following strategic supports that drive the strategic plan: Quality Curriculum, Accountability Systems, Financial Resiliency, Employee Expertise and Community Connections. We will assess our progress and any challenges associated with ensuring that our students graduate college, career and citizen-ready.
In addition to collecting information related to the strategic plan, this plan will assess division readiness in the areas of School Safety and Equity. These two areas are very important in public education today. Ensuring that our school division has effective procedures for maintaining a safe learning environment in all schools and providing access and opportunities for all students are the foundation of any successful school division.
The activities associated with the plan are included in the body of this document. Each actionable item of the entry plan has been assigned to an appropriate staff member for action and reporting purposes. Throughout the entry planning period action items will be updated as either Awaiting Action, Pending Action, or Completed Action.
At the conclusion of the first 100 days, I will develop a Post-Entry Report for the community which contains an assessment of the information obtained during the entry planning process as well as my recommendations for moving the work of our division strategic plan forward.
- Meet with community stakeholder groups
- Meet with local employers and business partners
- Meet teachers, support staff, parents and students
- Review financial audits, budget and funding history
- Assess Capital Improvement Program
- Assess instructional program and curriculum
- Assess magnet programs, regional and special programs
- Meet education associations and foundations
- Conclude data collection phase of entry planning
- Develop Post-Entry Plan for community
- Solicit feedback on draft report
- Host State of the Schools Community Event which outlines results of the Post-Entry Plan
- Begin implementation and reporting phase of process
- What traditions and beliefs do we value as an organization?
- What are our strengths?
- What are our challenges?
- How are students performing academically in Newport News Public Schools?
- What opportunities are available for ALL students?
- Are we meeting the needs of ALL children?
- How are we preparing students to graduate college, career and citizen-ready?
I believe caring, passionate and skilled people are the heart of any successful organization. Therefore, throughout my first 100 days I will be looking for amazing, talented and dedicated instructional leaders, engaged and challenged students, and a supportive community. I will also listen and learn from our families, business community and staff to ascertain their views on the school division. We have much to be proud of in NNPS. Now is a great time to revisit our mission and consider how we will best meet our goals for advancing the academic agenda for student achievement, advancement and youth development.
Together, we will establish Newport News Public Schools as a premier school division in the Commonwealth of Virginia!
Follow my travels on Twitter @DrGParker!
If you would like to participate in this process, you may contact my office at (757)591-4502.
Superintendent's Entry Plan: Strategic Supports
In addition to the NNPS Strategic Supports, the following categories will also be evaluated:
- Youth Development
NNPS will advance the Academic Agenda by providing the structures, resources and experiences necessary to ensure that all students graduate college, career and citizen-ready through:
- A curriculum that improves achievement, promotes effective teaching strategies and engages students in meaningful, authentic and rigorous work
- A comprehensive assessment system that reflects demonstration and mastery of NNPS indicators of student success
- The integration and utilization of supportive technology
NNPS will advance the Academic Agenda by ensuring that all employees are equipped with the skills necessary to meet or exceed performance expectations through:
- The systemic and purposeful recruitment, selection, orientation and placement of a diverse workforce
- Practices that provide employee development, growth and advancement opportunities and promote retention and loyalty
- Quality performance standards and an employee performance assessment process for timely and constructive feedback
NNPS will advance the Academic Agenda by effectively utilizing division-wide data through:
- Integration of the use of data into school planning and teachers' instructional decisions
- Structures for planning, informal professional development, and data use
- Integration of the use of data with district initiatives to determine strategic next steps
Providing a quality education for all students is a collaborative effort that families, students and the community share to support student achievement and outcomes for success. NNPS will advance the Academic Agenda by building partnerships to increase community confidence, advance student opportunities and keep the public informed through:
- Two-way communications with district families, employees and the community
- Branding and marketing school programs and initiatives
- Exemplary customer service practices
- Opportunities for community involvement that advance student learning and development
Resilient school divisions evolve their planning process as needed to address new issues, keep up with best practices and anticipate the changing needs of the organization created by economic conditions, community expectations, and state and federal regulations. NNPS will advance the Academic Agenda by ensuring long-term success by aligning current and future resources with the district's mission through:
- Long-range planning for operations and infrastructure
- Utilization of best business and operational practices
- Community awareness of NNPS fiscal management
Student success as measured by proficient test scores meeting state and national standards
Student success as measured by exemplary academic performance which exceeds state and national standards
Student success as measured by appropriate behavior and engagement in academics and activities
An assessment of the measurable outcomes of the strategic plan will be reviewed and updated during the entry planning period. A summary of the analysis will be provided in the Post Entry Plan.
STRATEGIC SUPPORT 1 : Quality Curriculum
Determine whether a common language around instruction is evident in the form of an instructional framework for teaching.
Identify division-wide professional development as it relates to the implementation of the written, taught and assessed curriculum.
Review the professional development plans for the past three years for an understanding of currently developed essential competencies. Assess the relationship between these competencies and the division's strategic objectives with a specific focus on student achievement, engagement and assessment.
Conduct a review of available meeting minutes, presentations, the professional development plan and the division technology plan to understand expectations and capacity building around innovative practices, instructional technology, engagement and rigor.
Conduct learning walks in classrooms and other educational spaces in elementary, middle and high schools to ascertain the quality of daily instruction, student engagement, authentic and rigorous work, innovative practices and use of educational technology.
Determine whether an audit of the k-12 curriculum has been completed within a 3-5 year period. Assess the alignment of the curriculum and understand where gaps in instruction, expectation and support may exist between grade levels.
Determine the existence of a comprehensive assessment system that reflects demonstration and mastery of NNPS indicators of student success.
- Are all important academic outcomes measured?
- Does our data represent progress, stagnation or decline?
- How are academic data reviewed and reported?
Meet with NNPS leadership, teachers, students and community members to understand expectations for high quality instruction, rigorous curriculum and assignment/availability of curriculum resources.
Meet with NNPS leadership and teachers to determine the degree to which improving literacy skills is emphasized and supported throughout the k-12 curriculum. What does effective literacy instruction look like at each level?
Meet with NNPS leadership, teachers, students and parents to determine the quality of communication, alignment and effectiveness of available technologies which support the instructional program. In particular:
- What is the ratio of technology per student?
- What initiatives have been implemented in NNPS to utilize technology on a daily basis in support of curriculum?
- What expectations have been communicated to school leaders, teachers, parents and students regarding any technology initiatives?
- What professional development has been provided and is planned for the future?
- How are we monitoring the use of technology to ensure that we are building the capacity of teachers to increase student engagement through increased writing, real-world exploration, creativity or problem-based experiences?
- How are Instructional Technology Coaches engaged in teaching and learning and how are they building capacity?
- What is the level of implementation for standards in technology education such as the International Society for Technology Education (ISTE) standards?
Conduct inventory of innovative initiatives, programs and practices throughout the school division to determine the scope, stage of implementation, supports and accountability.
Review the schedule for textbook adoption and assess the quality of instructional materials and products which are purchased to support classroom curriculum.
Review opportunities, programs and services for gifted, special education, ESL, and special education students to ensure that all students have access to an appropriately challenging educational experience.
Conduct a review of the school counseling program to determine the quality of student support and assess resources needed. In particular:
- Assess the school counseling curriculum (based on the American School Counselor Association national model) that supports social and emotional well-being for students to determine effectiveness.
- What is the student counselor ratio by level (elementary, middle and high school)?
- What level of access to rigorous courses do students have (particularly across subgroups) and how is it monitored?
- Review structures provided to respond to students experiencing challenging situations.
Meet with students to listen and learn their perceptions about the quality of adult relationships, expectations and access to academic rigor in their schools and across the division.
STRATEGIC SUPPORT 2 : Employee Expertise
Assess the effectiveness of recruitment, hiring, support and retention practices for instructional personnel. Assess teacher demographics in comparison to student demographic profile. Determine whether barriers exist in recruiting and retaining highly qualified, diverse instructional personnel.
Assess the effectiveness of recruitment, hiring, retention, apprenticeship programs and capacity building for classified and support personnel. In particular, what barriers exist in recruiting and retaining highly qualified classified and support personnel.
Review historical and present compensation and benefits history, including wellness initiatives, to determine whether NNPS is competitive in recruiting staff in the current market.
Meet with current teachers and Human Resources staff to determine the following:
- Are current supports and professional development for new teachers effective? How are we determining effectiveness?
- How are teacher mentors trained and what is the level of engagement?
- Are novice staff systemically placed in the most demanding schools and classrooms?
- What are the expectations for teacher collaboration at the school level?
Investigate any specific division practices that promote teacher advancement and retention.
Meet with Newport News Education Association (NNEA) to discuss any teacher concerns or issues. Solicit input on building a strong culture of excellence and positive school climate for teachers.
Form a teacher advisory committee and support staff advisory committee to meet quarterly with Superintendent to address concerns related to student achievement, safety and climate/morale. Meet with the Employee Communications Forum to address concerns in those areas.
Investigate staff evaluation, coaching and feedback systems to determine whether best practices are used consistently throughout the school division.
Review employee policies, employee handbook and required annual safety training to ensure that adequate structures are in place to meet the professional needs of the organization and employees.
Review the leadership development plans for the past three years for an understanding of currently developed essential competencies. Assess the relationship between these competencies and the division's investment in aspiring, novice and current teachers. In addition, what is our financial investment in our future leaders? Do we provide advancement incentives for programs such as National Board Certification and tuition assistance?
STRATEGIC SUPPORT 3 : Accountability Systems
Conduct a review of the NNPS assessment program and schedule to understand definitions of, purpose, and/or common language around NNPS outcomes for student success.
- What are we measuring?
- Are we using the right tools?
- Are there gaps in what we are measuring and the information needed?
Inventory annual school improvement plans and reporting procedures. Meet with division and school leadership to assess the level of communication and support provided to individual schools.
- Are school improvements formatted to target a comprehensive approach to school improvement?
- Are school leaders effective in developing SMART Goals for improvement?
- Are plans detailed to include goals, strategies, supports, assigned responsibilities, targeted professional development and community engagement?
- Is there evidence of progress reporting throughout the year? Are schools in state improvement required to report progress more frequently than accredited schools?
- Is there evidence of benchmark assessment results and follow-up interventions by student?
- Is there evidence of follow-up teacher actions throughout the year based on assessment results?
Meet with NNPS leadership and teachers to review and discuss expectations for the use of benchmark (interim) assessments, and formative and summative assessments.
Assess the level of collaboration at the school level between teachers and school administrators based on standards set for effective professional learning communities.
Examine the effectiveness of the student data management and learning management systems. Understand the degree to which our management systems support engaged teaching and learning. Determine the available functionality of all management systems that we currently do not use.
Conduct a review of the special education program:
- How are we measuring achievement in reading, writing, and math?
- How are we measuring growth in these areas?
- Is access to SPED services equal across all student populations?
- Are due process complaints handled efficiently and effectively?
Conduct a review of the English as a Second Language program to determine how we are measuring achievement and progress through proficiency levels.
Meet with NNPS leadership, teachers, students and community members to assess understanding of the NNPS outcomes for student success. Specifically focus these conversations on the following:
- "What do we mean when we say college, career and citizen-ready? What skills should a NNPS graduate possess?"
- "Do you feel that these skills or competencies (as defined) are embedded in the current curriculum?" Provide examples.
What are the key division initiatives over the past year? What data was used to justify the initiative? How is the effectiveness of each initiative monitored? Are there defined success criteria? Initiatives may include academic, discipline, attendance, student support, safety and other areas.
Investigate how the changes in the assessment system have impacted division practices. In particular:
- New requirements for locally developed alternative assessments
- Changes to assessment methods, reporting, and promotion and/or graduation requirements
- Changes in school accreditation and improvement
Review significant college and career readiness indicators to determine the degree that students are being prepared for post-secondary education and employment.
Conduct a review of NNPS assessment tools to understand how literacy and math readiness are measured. In particular:
- How are we measuring achievement in these areas?
- How are we measuring growth in reading, writing and math?
- How are we measuring grade level equivalency from grades K-10 in reading?
- What interventions are in place for students who fall behind?
- Are these practices systemic and data-driven?
Evaluate division efforts towards improving graduation rates for all students with a specific focus on African-American, Hispanic, English Language Learners, and special education students.
Review division suspension and expulsion data to determine whether a disproportionate rate of suspension exists based on gender, ethnicity or other variables. Examine frequency of suspensions by infraction.
Analyze school division data and key statistics to advance NNPS' position on various state and national rankings that measure how well school divisions educate their students.
STRATEGIC SUPPORT 4 : Community Connections
Assess the quality and quantity of division and school communication to external stakeholders. In particular:
- How are we communicating our success?
- How are we engaging the community around important issues such as safety, bullying and academic initiatives?
Schedule introductory meetings with members of the local media and establish protocols for communication with these outlets. Meet with the editorial boards of the local media. Work to establish a framework for collaboration that is open, honest, transparent and accurate.
Meet with school principals to assess expectations for community engagement. Investigate resources provided school leaders for communicating school information and opportunities.
Meet with employee organizations and advisory groups (teachers and support staff) to ascertain current channels of communication for bringing concerns forward at the school and division level.
Schedule meetings with division PTA leadership and parent advisory groups for initial listening and learning sessions and to discuss critical issues facing the division and opportunities for richer engagement.
Meet with elected officials and the city manager to listen and learn about areas of concern as well as opportunities for collaboration between the City Council and School Board. Work within current protocols to routinely communicate with this group and advocate for NNPS and public education more broadly.
Set up initial listening and learning sessions with key community leadership and organizations to hear concerns and hopes for the division, discuss critical issues facing the division, and solicit support in moving the division forward. These organizations should include but not be limited to:
- Key leadership in corporate, business, foundations (especially the Education Foundation), civic, non-profit, philanthropic, military, public safety, college and university and other organizations as well as their professional organizations and affiliations
- Community faith-based organizations, key religious leaders and their professional organizations and affiliations
- Key organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, the business district associations, service clubs and other similar organizations.
Schedule meetings with the established student leadership organizations. Work with these groups to identify key priorities for improving student culture, safety and opportunities; investigate solutions to student- identified challenges. Establish an ongoing rapport with these groups.
Determine the data to be collected from current education and business partners such as their involvement with schools and the services they provide. Inventory all partnerships to ascertain the number and scope of internship and externship opportunities for students.
Meet with the Newport News Education Association to assess the level of support provided to the school division and the alignment of association initiatives to the division strategic plan.
Meet with Family and Community Engagement Specialists to determine the scope and focus of their support of school/family initiatives.
Meet with city service organizations to understand and assess the relationship between school division and city service providers. These organizations may include Hampton-Newport News Community Services Board, Department of Social Services, Hampton Roads Community Action Program, Newport News Redevelopment and the Housing Authority.
Attend introductory meetings for division advisory groups such as the Gifted Advisory Committee, Special Education Advisory Committee, Family Life Advisory Committee and Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee. Solicit input on how school division leadership can support the work of these groups.
STRATEGIC SUPPORT 5 : Financial Resiliency
Review FY19 Operational Budget and Capital Improvement Plan to determine key priorities and alignment with strategic goals.
Assess revenue and expenditures to ascertain the needs of the school division and any current or future challenges.
Review division staffing as it relates to requirements including State Standards of Quality, size of buildings and student services for student subgroups (SPED, ESL, Gifted, etc.)
Review processes and systems that guide the distribution of resources, including a review of the division's financial projections, resource allocation, and the procedures for building the annual operating budget. Ensure that allocation of resources is clearly aligned to student learning needs and strategic objectives.
Review the current organizational chart and central office structure to determine focus on student achievement and organizational efficiency.
Review division policies related to items that increase spending during a fiscal cycle (employee leave, overtime, travel reimbursement, workers compensation, absenteeism, professional substitutes and stipends).
Meet with legal counsel to review and understand current legal proceedings and/or outstanding judgments against the division.
Meet with legislative liaisons for a briefing on current legislative initiatives or existing statutes currently impacting or likely to impact the division.
Meet with division leaders in support areas (Transportation, Technology, Child Nutrition Services and Plant Services) to identify any financial issues related to providing service to our schools.
Tour all division operational facilities and review procedures for providing support.
Review and assess the Technology Plan to determine whether the plan aligns with the instructional
needs of the school division and strategic plan.
Meet with School Board Members, City Manager, Council Members and school personnel to discuss issues and challenges associated with school funding.
6 : School and Student Safety
Review division safety procedures. Meet with principals and security leadership to assess efforts to maintain a safe environment in all schools and buildings.
Meet with local public safety officials and review the Memorandum of Understanding for School Resource Officers. Review communication and reporting protocols with the Fire Department and law enforcement officials.
Meet with principals and security staff to assess security procedures at athletic and extra-curricular events.
Review policies and procedures for reporting and addressing incidents of bullying, harassment or abuse.
Meet with school leaders, parents and students to discuss current procedures involving school safety and reporting.
Review and evaluate the division's current Restorative Practices, Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS) models and processes to determine their impact on student behavior and achievement.
Review division discipline data to determine the number of serious violations and safety related incidents.
Assess whether discipline data reflects a degree of disproportionality based on race, gender or instructional setting. Investigate solutions to addressing any issues.
Conduct a review of the mental health services provided to students to determine the quality of support and resources needed. In particular:
- How do we determine if collaboration between school counselors, social workers, psychologists and student support specialists provides effective and timely mental health supports to students and families?
- What is the ratio of psychologists and social workers to students?
- What is the extent of family support, referrals and resources provided to students and families?
- Is there a formal process for assisting students who have experienced a traumatic event?
- What level of communication occurs between school and local agencies such as the Department of Social Services and the Community Services Board, to address student issues?
- Is there a tiered response system in all schools for addressing issues involving student behavior, attendance and academic performance?
7 : Equity and Opportunities
Meet with senior staff and division leadership to understand and establish norms and expectations for discussion of academic performance, culture and school climate to determine actions needed to support principals and to ensure continuous improvement at each school.
Meet with principals to discuss any concerns related to the allocation of instructional resources or support staff assignments.
Review the assignment of reading specialists, coaches, interventionists and other support staff positions throughout the division to determine whether schools with higher numbers of underserved students are receiving the necessary support.
Review student enrollment in magnet, gifted, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and other programs or courses, including Career and Technical Education, to determine whether student enrollment is proportionate to the racial make-up of the overall student body.
Review student achievement data such as proficiency by grade level in reading and math (by school, ethnicity, gender and economic status) to determine whether any trends exist for underperforming students.
"Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve the students of Newport News Public Schools. Together, we will ensure that our schools are safe, nurturing and inspiring places for our students."
- George Parker, III, Ph.D.