On Thursday, June 26, 2014, the School Board voted to extend the Superintendent’s contract for two years. Dr. Samuel T. King’s contract originally was set to expire June 30, 2016. The contract is extended to June 30, 2018.
“Continuity of strong leadership, along with laser-like focus on the mission and vision, will be crucial over the next four years,” said School Board Chairman Dr. Kirk T. Houston.
“I look forward to working with the Governance Leadership Team to continue the implementation of the five-year Strategic Plan for the benefit of all students and staff,” Dr. King said.
Dr. King began his tenure as Superintendent in July 2012. During the first year of his leadership, the school division and community came together to agree upon a new vision for NPS - to become the cornerstone of a proudly diverse community - and then developed a five-year Strategic Plan for moving NPS toward the vision. The School Board adopted the Strategic Plan in the summer of 2013, and NPS is nearing completion of the first year of implementation.
“We’re only beginning to scratch the surface,” Dr. King said. “We have huge work to do. We’re still building the infrastructure and the strong foundation needed to improve learning for all students.”
Some areas of emphasis so far include:
- Districtwide adoption of the NPS Cycle for Results, a six-step process for teachers and administrators to ensure that every child meets and eventually exceeds curriculum standards. The Cycle starts with an analysis of each student’s baseline knowledge, followed by delivery of teaching that is based on the curriculum standards. Assessments are given and analyzed to determine how well each child has absorbed the lessons. Some students then need “safety nets,” or more teaching of standards they haven’t mastered. Other students need enrichment because they have mastered the material and are ready to move ahead. The cycle continues with more checks for mastery and data analysis. Training on the NPS Cycle for Results began immediately upon Dr. King’s arrival in 2012, and continues as a major part of staff development.
- Districtwide adoption of a standard “focus walk” process, in which principals and central administrators visit classrooms, observe using a standardized observation tool, and provide feedback for teachers about the implementation of the Cycle for Results and effective classroom practices.
- Districtwide adoption of a standard benchmark testing process, with pre-tests at the beginning of the year and post-tests near the end, so that teachers, administrators, the School Board the public can receive a reliable gauge of how students are progressing toward mastery of the curriculum throughout the school year. Results are used to help determine students’ needs for safety nets - more teaching of standards they haven’t mastered – or enrichment because they have mastered the material and are ready to move ahead.
- A comprehensive demographic study of school facilities and educational programming citywide. The study, driven by a community steering committee, resulted in a series of recommendations including the NPS Transformation Initiative, an ambitious initiative to advance the NPS five-year Strategic Plan with a series of school transformations including re-purposing Lafayette-Winona Middle School, new instructional themes for 15 schools, grade reconfigurations at six elementary schools, an Open Campus Academy and a new comprehensive career and technical education high school (www.npsk12.com/transformation).
- A partnership with the City of Norfolk to build five new schools – Campostella K-8 and Broad Creek, Larchmont, Ocean View and Camp Allen elementary schools.
- Strengthened partnerships with many organizations, including the United Way of South Hampton Roads, the Norfolk Board of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, the citywide PTA and local colleges and universities. The United Way and NPS have brought together a coalition called “United for Children” that last year offered a full summer program for all students of P.B. Young Elementary School. This year, United for Children is bringing the powerful summer program to both P.B. Young and Tidewater Park elementary schools. The Chamber has supported the demographic study, the NPS Transformation Initiative, an NPS Transformational Leadership grant application and various school-community events, such as a State of the Schools Address and a Community Exchange Reception.
Dr. King was selected to be one of the first 20 superintendents in the country by AASA, the School Superintendents Association, to participate in AASA’s new National Superintendent Certification Program.