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Community, school division celebrate official Crossroads School dedication

The sun was shining and children were singing on Friday, September 21, 2012, as city leaders, School Board members, the Superintendent, NPS staff, students, parents and community members gathered to officially dedicate Crossroads School.

Crossroads is the city's newest school building and community center. It is a facility built to serve children from pre-kindergarten through grade 8.

"The new Crossroads really is an incredible facility," said Mayor Paul D. Fraim. "It used to be schools were open only during school hours and for school-related functions. Today, families also value them as an asset that can be put to other productive use in the community. Crossroads is a good example of that trend."

School Board Chairman Kirk T. Houston, Sr., thanked all the members of the community - students, parents, city leaders, fellow Board members, staff - who provided the inspiration, dedication and support to make the new building happen.

"Every brick of this building, every nail, every inch belongs to someone standing here," Dr. Houston told the crowd. "We are thankful to all of you for this achievement."

Crossroads will be a model for the type of state-of-the-art facility the School Board will strive for when turning its attentions next to new elementary schools at Campostella, the Broad Creek area, Larchmont and Ocean View, Dr. Houston said.

Superintendent Samuel T. King pointed out Crossroads' 49 classrooms, four computer labs, three science labs, two gymnasiums, two art rooms and two music rooms, as well as the environmental advancements that make it a LEED-certified building, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

"All of these new features are exciting and wonderful," Dr. King said, "however we will never lose sight of the fact that the heart and soul of this building are the bright children, the dedicated staff members and the strong, supportive families we have standing before us today."

Deputy Superintendent for Operations and School Leadership Development Dr. L'Tanya Simmons delivered gifts - Crossroads student art depicting their new school - to NPS Senior Director of Planning Mr. John Hazelette, contractor Robert H. McKenzie Jr. of McKenzie Construction Corporation, and architect Jack Hasten of Moseley Architects. Mr. McKenzie and Mr. Hasten presented to Dr. King, Dr. Simmons and Principal Mary Beers a ceremonial key to the building.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 27 September 2012 18:10

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Students, staff, families converge for opening of 2012-2013 school year

First Day of School 2012New lunch boxes. Freshly pressed outfits. Backpacks brimming with school supplies. Huge smiles.

All were on display Tuesday, September 4, 2012 for the opening of the 2012-2013 school year in Norfolk Public Schools.

About 33,500 students headed through the doors of NPS' preschool facilities, elementary, middle and high schools and alternative sites.

School Board members, Superintendent Dr. Samuel T. King, the Superintendent's Cabinet and two representatives from the Norfolk Education Foundation fanned out across the city and made school visits throughout the day. The Mayor and members of the City Council joined Dr. King along the way.

NPS also celebrated the opening of the new Crossroads School, a state-of-the-art building that will house preschoolers, elementary students and middle school students.

Crossroads is Norfolk Public Schools’ first LEED-certified environmental facility, which means that it meets standards for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Among the special features: a vegetative roof, solar hot water, demonstration wind turbines to generate power for lighting the dining plaza, clerestory windows to promote natural light, and student restrooms with air dryers instead of paper towels.

The school houses the elementary level of the French American School of Norfolk, a program that serves French students who primarily are part of the NATO community. Crossroads also is home to Norfolk Public Schools’ program for students with multiple disabilities, and has a robust inclusion environment. The school construction was geared toward making the building as accessible as possible, with such features as press-plate automatic doors, accessible restrooms, elevators and ramps for the auditorium stage.

The school has four computer labs, three science labs, two gymnasiums, a City of Norfolk recreation center, two art rooms and two music rooms.

Click on image below for larger view.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 27 September 2012 18:10

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School Board and Administration set strategic planning timeline, including public forums

The School Board on Wednesday, August 15, 2012 endorsed Superintendent Samuel T. King's timeline and process for developing a five-year strategic plan for Norfolk Public Schools.

The process will take almost a year and will be led by Dr. Linda Sevigny, Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, who joined NPS August 13 and is a nationally certified strategic planner. The Panasonic Foundation, NPS' longtime partner, will help facilitate.

Activities commence with public forums on August 28 at 6 p.m. at Norview High School and September 12 at 6 p.m. at Ruffner Academy.

All parents, staff members and citizens who are interested in assisting NPS with a strong, five-year plan for school improvement are invited to participate.

The plan will be drafted by a district-level strategic planning committee, which will be a group that is representative of a microcosm of the community, along with a series of action teams working on specific components of the plan.

The strategic plan's first effective year will be 2013-2014.

For 2012-2013, the School Board adopted seven Board and division priorities, which are:

  • Ensure Full Accreditation
  • Increase academic achievement of all students, raising the floor and ceiling simultaneously to close achievement gaps
  • Improve climate, safety and attendance
  • Become a Board of distinction
  • Promote Norfolk Public Schools to reflect outstanding accomplishments of staff, teachers and students
  • Develop and coordinate a capital improvement plan for facilities and technology to enhance teaching and learning
  • Attract, retain and help to develop strong academic families and highly qualified teachers and staff

Dr. King and the Administration are working on an action plan to be delivered to the School Board in September. The plan will spell out how the priorities will be met for the coming school year while the strategic plan is being developed.


Last Updated on Thursday, 27 September 2012 18:10

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School Board approves appointments for Deputy Superintendent, Granby ES Principal

On Wednesday, August 1, 2012, the School Board approved an appointment for Deputy Superintendent for Operations and School Leadership Development. L’Tanya Simmons, Ed.D., comes to Norfolk from Alexandria, Va. She serves as the Chief Education Officer, Collaborative Learning, at The Center for College & Career Readiness.

"Dr. Simmons brings a tremendous amount of expertise, particularly in the areas of educational assessment, technology for assessment and accountability, and aligning fiscal and operational support toward educational goals," said Dr. Samuel T. King, Superintendent of Schools.


Dr. Simmons has served as a teacher, federal programs director, staff development director and central office supervisor for Brunswick County Schools in North Carolina; an elementary school principal in Atlanta; and Chief of Accountability, Research and Evaluation for Baltimore City Public Schools. Following those experiences, she spent 17 years in executive leadership roles with corporations that provide educational technology systems and expertise at the national level, with a critical focus in urban school districts. Prior to joining The Center for College & Career Readiness, for example, she was National Director of Education with BDM; Senior Vice President/Officer for BTG; Senior Director for Education and Technology with Government Micro Resources Corporation; and Senior Vice President for Educational Accountability with Vantage Learning Corporation.

While with BTG, Dr. Simmons won and successfully implemented Virginia's RFP to deliver the first high-stakes, online SOL assessment through the Virginia Department of Education, with implementation on time and under cost.

"I endorse and embrace Dr. King's philosophy," Dr. Simmons said. "Dr. King and I have been educational partners for many years."

Dr. Simmons worked with Dr. King's leadership team in Georgia to manage the transition to the nation's Common Core standards, which, like Virginia's Standards of Learning, are aimed at preparing students for college and career readiness. Dr. Simmons focused on ensuring that instruction could be delivered with a level of rigor required for students to demonstrate proficiency for college and career readiness.


Also on Wednesday, the School Board approved a new principal for Granby Elementary School. Mr. Rohan Cumberbatch-Smith, who has been with Norfolk Public Schools since 2001 as a teacher, instructional specialist and assistant principal, will lead Granby Elementary. Mr. Cumberbatch-Smith most recently was assigned as AP at Jacox Elementary. He also has experience as a special education teacher Queens, New York.

Mr. Cumberbatch-Smith joins other personnel appointed to new principalships this summer, including Karen Berg at Maury High School, David Faircloth at Larrymore Elementary, Dr. Mark Makovec at Northside Middle School, Margarietta Stallings at Lafayette-Winona Middle, Julie Honeycutt at Willard Elementary, June Lightfoot at Willoughby Elementary, and Dr. Veleka Gatling at Campostella Elementary.

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 September 2012 18:10

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School Board re-elects Chairman, chooses Vice Chair

On Friday, July 13, 2012, the School Board re-elected Dr. Kirk T. Houston, Sr., as Chairman, and elected Dr. Brad Robinson as Vice Chair.

Dr. Houston was appointed to the Board in July, 2009, and was elected Chair in July, 2010. Dr. Robinson was appointed to the Board last July.

The election was held during the Board's 1 1/2-day retreat on Friday and Saturday, July 13 and 14, at TowneBank in downtown Norfolk. The retreat also served as the first official meeting for three new members, Dr. Noelle Gabriel, Rev. Edward Haywood and Mr. Rodney Jordan, and new Superintendent Dr. Samuel T. King.

"Thank you for your confidence in my leadership," Dr. Houston said following his re-election, "and for allowing me the privilege and honor to serve."

Dr. Robinson said, "I'm really excited about the coming year with Dr. King and our new Board members. I think we're going to come together as a great team to help move the district forward for the children."

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 September 2012 18:10

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