Norfolk Public Schools Educational and Facilities Planning

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 18, 2022

Norfolk Public Schools Educational and Facilities Planning

NORFOLK, VA – For the past several years, Norfolk Public Schools has worked with the consulting firm Cooperative Strategies to support educational planning efforts and to develop comprehensive, 10-year facilities plan to consolidate, renovate, repurpose, and replace the division’s aging schools and facilities. This intensive process included an assessment of all facilities within the school division; a review of data including student enrollment and funding sources; and solicitation of stakeholder input through multiple community forums and surveys.

Now, Norfolk Public Schools is ready to embark on the implementation of the next phase of its facilities plan with recommendations for school transitions taking place beginning with the 2022-2023 school year. The School Board of the City of Norfolk considered these transitions during its retreat on February 4 and voted to move forward with holding a public hearing to provide another opportunity for community stakeholders to provide input on the facilities plan prior to any final decisions being made. This public hearing is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, March 2, 2022, at 6:30 p.m. at Richard Bowling Elementary School, 2700 East Princess Anne Road.

The recommended transitions include:

• Lindenwood Elementary School will close. Students who are currently enrolled at the school will transition to W.H. Taylor Elementary School and Willard Elementary School, based on their address, beginning in the 2022-2023 school year.
• The Madison Alternative Center will close. Students who will be enrolled in the school division’s secondary alternative education program will transition to the site of what is now Lindenwood Elementary School beginning in the 2022-2023 school year.
• Easton Preschool will close. Students enrolled there will transition to the site of the former Fairlawn Elementary School, which is currently vacant, during the 2022-2023 school year.
• Tidewater Park Elementary School will close at the end of the 2022-2023 school year. Students there will transition to Ruffner Middle, which will be repurposed from a traditional middle school to a combined school for grades 3 through 8 during the 2023-2024 school year. The 2022-2023 school year will be a planning year for this transition. Ruffner School for grades 3-8 will include a division-wide choice program.

These recommendations adhered to guiding principles established during the planning process: data-driven decisions guided by community input, with transparency and regular updates to families, with all options designed to create “trade up” scenarios for students. No option was considered if it did not improve the learning environment for affected students. The plan seeks to bring all facilities to equitable standards for academic, resource, and extra-curricular spaces.

Superintendent Dr. Sharon I. Byrdsong said these recommended transitions reflect NPS’ commitment to fiscal responsibility and allow NPS to “act on its vision of school buildings that are worthy of our students. We are closing old and outdated facilities as well as repurposing and renovating others.”

Additionally, she said, “These transitions reflect the School Board’s expectations of the NPS administration to balance school boundaries and work to eliminate the concentration of poverty at schools within the division.”

The recommendation to close Tidewater Park Elementary School, Easton Preschool and the Madison Alternative Center was also made in response to area redevelopment, declining enrollment, and poor building conditions. The City of Norfolk is planning redevelopment in the St. Paul’s corridor, including the area around Tidewater Park Elementary School by the 2023-2024 school year. The surrounding elementary schools are projected to lose more than 300 students over the next five years.

Consolidating the prekindergarten program at the Easton Preschool into a repurposed Fairlawn Elementary School (less than 2 miles away) will provide the capacity for a strong prekindergarten center serving the same community.

Full details of Norfolk Public Schools’ long-range facilities plan, “Rebuild NPS 2030,” can be found on the school division’s website. Additionally, documents from School Board discussions of this plan can be found in its records, posted under the “Meetings and Information” tab on the School Board’s section of npsk12.com, and videos of past meetings can be found on the school division’s YouTube channel.

Public Hearing
6:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 2, 2022
Richard Bowling Elementary School
2700 East Princess Anne Road

Norfolk Public Schools (NPS) is on a mission to ensure that all students maximize their academic potential, develop skills for lifelong learning, and become successful contributors to a global society. We believe Norfolk Public Schools is the cornerstone of a proudly diverse community with highly qualified teachers and staff dedicated to providing diverse teaching and learning opportunities for all students.

You can read more about Rebuild NPS 2030 and find the facility plan here.

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