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Recognizing Best Practices – Model Partnerships

Beginning in 2000-2001, the VBCPS Partnership Advisory Link (PAL), an advisory body made up of school and community representatives, began annually recognizing Model Partnerships. Through a nomination and panel review process, each school year's Model Partnerships are selected as examples of best practices of meaningful community involvement in our school district.

Model partnerships are selected based on the following criteria. The partnership:

  • Had a clearly stated purpose
  • Enabled students to be engaged in innovative educational activities
  • Had a positive impact on student learning and achievement
  • Was mutually beneficial to both organizations
  • Added value to the educational initiatives in the Virginia Beach City Public Schools and to the community organization
  • Learn how to establish a partnership with Virginia Beach City Public Schools

2014 Model Partnerships

Princess Anne High School, Beach Chemical and Paper Company

For more than 15 years, staff at Beach Chemical and Paper Company and Princess Anne High School have worked together to give real-life workplace training to students with intellectual disabilities. This year, the partnership took a new direction when students were given the opportunity to complete part-time job responsibilities in a vocational classroom setting. Students earned a wage by prepping materials for military personnel living in temporary housing at the Gateway Inn and Suites. This money was then set aside to support the VBCPS Beach Bags program. Students used these funds to purchase items for the Beach Bags, assembled the bags and delivered them to a local elementary school.

"Over the years, we have met so many kind, personable and dedicated students, we can honestly say we benefit from the program as much as the students," said Nancy Davis, executive director of Beach Chemical and Paper Company. "We can always count on ‘'our kids' to do an excellent job while brightening our day."

School Social Work Services, AidNow

Recognizing that students struggling with homelessness needed extra help preparing for the start of the school year, the Office of School Social Work Services put out the call for help. Among the first to answer that call was AidNow. This unique partnership launched the popular JumpStart events, where families received needed school supplies and materials for the beginning of the school year. Students also received haircuts on site as well as, clothing, shoes and even school physicals. This year's event served 583 students thanks to community donations and the generous work of more than 100 volunteers.

"We can provide numbers of students who participated or volunteer hours, but we cannot easily quantify the feelings of pride and gratefulness expressed by the students and parents," says Gay Thomas, administrative coordinator for School Social Work Services. "We do know that when a student feels cared for, has the supplies that they need and feels welcomed by their school, it is a known fact that they will perform better in the classroom."

Linkhorn Park Elementary School, New Earth Farm

Just as a seedling is planted and grows over time with the correct support and care, so, too, has the partnership between Linkhorn Park Elementary and New Earth Farm blossomed. In 2011, the New Earth Farm founder John Wilson began working with students at Linkhorn Park to establish vegetable gardens on the school grounds. Each year, the gardens continued to grow and, now, produce gathered from the gardens is included in the school's salad bar. Wilson has also hosted students on a field trip to his farm, where they can see up close the process of growing food organically.

"Each time we enlarge our garden, Farmer John supplies us with seeds and seedlings," said Dena Sciaccitano, sponsoring teacher of the Green LIONS Club at Linkhorn Park. "Additionally, the children love the fact that they get to plant and grow organic fruits and vegetables with a local farmer in our community. His hands-on lessons are extremely interesting and always engage the students."

Advanced Technology Center, InMotion Hosting

The workplace wants potential employees who can tackle the real-world demands of the job. VBCPS wants to prepare students to be those exact employees upon graduation. Consequently, the partnership of the Advanced Technology Center and InMotion Housing has helped both achieve their goals. Since the partnership began three years ago, more than 30 ATC students have toured the Virginia Beach office of the company, interviewed staff and learned more about their work. In addition, InMotion has provided guest speakers and mentors for ATC classes and an internship program for students. As a result, four students have been hired by the company.

"Our partnership with InMotion Hosting has assisted ATC faculty and administration to clarify and refine the Center's Internet Web Professional curriculum and provided outstanding mentor and internship opportunities for our students," ATC director Michael Taylor said.

Old Donation Center, Oyster Reef Keepers of Virginia, Inc.

In recent years, the oyster population in the Chesapeake Bay has dropped to only 15 percent of its former state. Learning this, students at Old Donation Center took the plight of the oyster to heart and, with the help of Oyster Reef Keepers of Virginia, Inc. researched and developed plans to help restore the population. With this partnership, students gained an authentic learning experience and realized the impact they could have on the future. They collected data on oysters they were growing and recycled shells from local restaurants to create oyster sanctuaries in the river. The partnership has also led to professional development for teachers.

"My students took a personal interest in the survival of the oysters in the Lynnhaven River. This was powerful," said third-grade teacher Sharon Boudreau. "Students owned the renewal of the oyster reefs in the river."

Cox High School, Virginia Beach Schools Federal Credit Union

Forget the ATM, students at Cox High School can get their banking done right by their lockers thanks to the launch of the new Falcon Credit Union. The bank is the latest in a series of partnership programs with the Virginia Beach Schools Federal Credit Union. Each initiative is created with the intent of preparing students to be fiscally responsible in the world ahead of them. With the bank, students can make deposits and withdrawals at the school location and fellow students serve as bank tellers. Under the leadership of staff members, student tellers who applied, interviewed, were selected and trained for their jobs, are responsible for logging the transactions of the day.

"Students and staff from Cox High School have clearly benefited from the partnership with the Virginia Beach Schools Federal Credit Union by giving the students the chance to conduct business at their school while providing them with the opportunity to learn firsthand what is involved in the workings of a credit union facility," said Cox High School's Family and Consumer Science Teacher Raena Weimer.

Landstown High School, AVW Technologies

To be the best, you have to compete against the best. AVW Technologies, in its partnership with Landstown High School, has graciously made that possible for Landstown's pre-engineering classes. For the past three years, AVW Technologies, a local veteran-owned engineering business specializing in Naval acquisition and engineering assessments, has sponsored seven teams from Landstown High, allowing students to try their hands in the FIRST Tech Challenge, a robotics competition where students compete head to head using a sports model. Four of these teams have made it to the state championship in Richmond. In addition, staff from AVW also serves on the Governor's STEM Academy Advisory Committee at Landstown High School to help ensure the program goals and curriculum meet with the needs of the local workforce.

"AVW has been an outstanding role model for businesses that wish to partner with public schools," said Dr. Jim Barger, pre-engineering department chair at Landstown. "Their support and cooperation has been stellar and has allowed our FIRST Robotics students to participate at a level that would not have otherwise been possible."

Cooke Elementary School, Whole Foods Market

When representatives from Cooke Elementary School went to ask for a donation from the local Whole Foods Market for an upcoming event, they did not realize the donation would blossom into a vibrant new partnership. The staff at Whole Foods Market volunteered to work extensively with the school's Garden Club to educate students about eating and living a healthy lifestyle. They provided plants and materials and countless hours of instruction to the young gardeners to help their gardens become self-sustaining botanicals. . Whole Foods even invited students to sell their produce once it was harvested at the store to raise money to replenish their gardens. In addition, Whole Foods assisted with the purchase and set up of the school's greenhouse.

"Whole Foods Market has exceeded our expectations in a partnership," shared Laura Beth Lawver, Partner in Education coordinator for Cooke. "Whole Foods has become our go to partner because they are willing to do anything and everything we need to make our students successful gardeners and healthy, well-informed consumers."

Pembroke Elementary School, Kemps Landing Magnet School

For years, students at Pembroke Elementary School have been the beneficiaries of their proximity to Kemps Landing Magnet School. For more than a decade, the two schools have partnered for lunch time tutoring sessions, learning garden activities and the launch of the schools' Little Library Project, which promotes reading within the community and with the students. This year, Kemps Landing students took the partnership a step further by starting a new initiative, the Literature project, where they came to Pembroke Elementary and taught students ways to have a trashless lunch as well as a cleaner school environment.

"Our younger students look forward to their weekly lunch visits," said Joan Saunders, guidance counselor at Pembroke Elementary. "Pembroke students may not have the opportunity to experience friendships with older, successful students who promote the importance of education and exemplify good behavior. The KLMS students are thrilled to eat lunch and foster these friendships."

Lynnhaven Middle School, Wave City Care

For Wave City Care, partnering with Lynnhaven Middle School is more than just a donation of services; it's a comprehensive approach to support the school's young men and women wherever they need help. Wave City Care volunteers facilitate One Life Mentoring, a weekly program specifically designed for students in homeless situations, as well as the ShineGIRL program, a nine-week self-esteem program for the young women at the school. In addition, they fill Beach Bags for students in need and have hosted the Holiday Extravaganza for the past two years where more than 500 families shopped for holiday gifts donated by Wave City Care families.

"The one-on-one relationship developed between the mentor and mentee seems to not only fill a void in the students’' lives, but it reinforces the fact that they can and do make a difference in this world," said Ellen Hundley, School Activity Coordinator.

Tallwood High School, World Affairs Council of Greater Hampton Roads

As home to the Global Studies and World Languages Academy (GSWLA), Tallwood High School had an immediate connection to the World Affairs Council of Greater Hampton Roads (WACGHR). However, this partnership grew beyond initial shared interests. Tallwood academy students presented their work and research at the WACGHR Distinguished Speaker series and had WACGHR staff members as mentors for their Model U.N. conferences and WorldQuest competitions. Additionally, these high school students were invited to intern alongside college students.

"This relationship has given GSWLA students a great deal of exposure to the international community and its unique events in our region, while the WACGHR has been able to develop youthful ambassadors for their programs and opportunities," said Jessica Windish, a Tallwood High School teacher and the school's Partners in Education Coordinator.

Shelton Park Elementary School, Coastal Riverine Group 2

It started simply enough-one parent wanted to get more involved at his son's school. Victor Montoya began by volunteering at events at Shelton Park Elementary School. Soon Montoya brought his coworkers from the Coastal Riverine Group 2 and, bit by bit, an ongoing partnership was created. Today, Coastal Riverine Group 2 members routinely serve in any capacity needed. They are running buddies at the school's Family Fun Run, bury artifacts for the fifth-grade archaeological dig and act as referees and coaches for the student/staff football game.

"This special partnership is pivotal to the students, teachers and families here at Shelton Park," Partners in Education Coordinators Meghan Pankau and Charisse Warren shared. "Since they are in such close proximity to our school (where more than 80 percent of the student body is military-connected, their faces are familiar to our students and families. They know that they are making a difference in these students’' lives so close to the community where they work."

Technical & Career Education Center, Virginia Beach Department of Public Health Dental Clinic

Students at the Technical and Career Education Center are the recipients of not only excellent hands-on instruction, but, in some cases, dental care. The Virginia Beach Department of Public Health partnered with the center to give students experience assisting in general dental services, such as teeth cleanings, x-rays, fluoride treatments and restorative dentistry. Students who met the Department of Public Health's program eligibility requirements also received the dental care they needed. This is the only program of its kind in Virginia, and the Department of Public Health is now looking to expand to divisions across the state.

"Our endeavor expands services by improving linkages to centralize the assessment and treatment processes," said Antoinette Kahan, a dental assistant instructor for the Technical and Career Education Center. "Not only is this an ideal partnership for workforce readiness skills, but its focus facilitates the likelihood of qualified students acquiring the care they may not otherwise receive before their benefits expire upon graduation."

Bayside Elementary School, Baylake United Methodist Church

The members of Baylake United Methodist Church refused to sit idly by and hear that children in their community were going hungry. The church has been a partner with Bayside Elementary School since 2011, and, in that time, the membership has become a staunch supporter of the school division's Beach Bags program. Church members shop, pack and distribute the bags at Bayside Elementary. With the help of the church, the school is able to send home 70 bags of food with students in need every week.

"The unique advantage to this partnership is Baylake UMC's total dedication to supporting this program," Partners in Education Coordinator Catherine Malley said. "Church members know they are providing a valuable service to the school in their community and Bayside Elementary is a more positive, joyful school because students’' nutritional needs are being addressed."

Model Partnerships



Last Modified on Thursday, June 26, 2014