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In The News

Newport News Public Schools initiative ignites a SPARK


(03/08/2016) - Newport News Public Schools' SPARK initiative earned first place in the 2016 National School Boards Association's Magna Awards Program. The awards recognize school districts taking bold and innovative steps in educating students. The award was officially announced during a SPARK Partnership Breakfast on March 8 at the Newport News Marriott at City Center. All Magna Award recipients will be featured in the April 2016 edition of the American School Board Journal. The Newport News School Board will accept the award for SPARK at the School Leaders Luncheon during the National School Boards Association Annual Conference in April.

SPARK, the Summer Program for Arts, Recreation and Knowledge, was launched in the summer of 2015. SPARK is a unique summer program that extends learning into the community. Morning programming gives students hands-on academic learning experiences in English and math. Through the expertise and support of sponsors, students engage in a variety of enrichment offerings in the afternoon including art, music, dance, athletics and recreation, mentoring, STEM activities, career-readiness initiatives, youth development programs and field trips. With a wealth of quality programming, no tuition costs, three meals and transportation provided, SPARK transforms the summer for Newport News students.

During its inaugural summer, SPARK served over 2,000 students at three schools. With a state-funded $1.2 million grant for extended learning and other funding, Newport News Public Schools is expanding SPARK during the summer of 2016 to provide academic and enrichment opportunities to 6,000 Newport News students at 10 schools.

Newport News Public Schools thanks the 2015 SPARK partners and sponsors for their generous support:

  • Alternatives, Inc.
  • Bayport Credit Union
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of the Virginia Peninsula
  • C. Waldo Scott Center
  • Christopher Newport University
  • City of Newport News
  • Congressman Bobby Scott's Office
  • Dreams in Motion
  • EMA Music
  • First Baptist Church East End
  • Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast
  • Gretchen Heal
  • Hampton University
  • Hilton Presbyterian Church
  • Integrity Security - Safety Town
  • Janet Rash
  • Jefferson Lab
  • Langley Federal Credit Union
  • The Mariners' Museum
  • The National Institute of Aerospace
  • Newport News Sheriff's Office
  • Newport News Shipbuilding
  • Newport News Waterworks
  • O. H. Smith & Son Funeral Home
  • One Church
  • The Oyster Pointer
  • Peninsula Council for Workforce Development
  • Riverside Regional Health System
  • Soundscapes
  • Sparetimes Bowling
  • Thomas Nelson Community College
  • Urban League of Hampton Roads
  • Virginia Air and Space Center
  • Virginia Educators Credit Union
  • Virginia Living Museum
  • Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce
  • Youth Volunteer Corp