State Board of Education Recognizes Hopewell as an Innovative School Division

Hopewell City Public Schools has been undertaking a journey for years to move beyond meeting the status quo and to be a leader in education.  The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is seeing and acknowledging Hopewell's innovative work and has designated Hopewell as one of only 15 districts that is a "School Division of Innovation".
There are a number of innovative practices and programs Hopewell has been undertaking.  Some of these include:
  • Developing a framework for deeper learning competencies for students and teachers, holding exhibitions for students to showcase their work, and elevating the voice of students to guide our work in meeting their needs and helping them shine. 
  • Launching a 9th Grade Academy at Hopewell High School in which the program is a sort of school within a school that is designed to shape a more personal high school experience for students.
  • Developing a plan for all schools to move to a balanced calendar, slated for the 2021-2022 school year, that includes innovative learning opportunities during intersessions. 
  • As a grant awardee of the Wallace Foundation that provides support and guidance, working with VSU and other regional partners to reshape the training and development of leaders in our schools.  
Hopewell has not slowed down as an innovative district.  While this designation was made based on work and plans prior to the pandemic, Hopewell has continued to innovate and create new programs and methods in the last few months as they adapt and innovate to their new environment.  
The VDOE provided the following "School Divisions of Innovation" press release:

The state Board of Education recognized 15 Virginia school divisions as “School Divisions of Innovation” for designing and implementing alternatives to traditional instructional practices and school structures that improve student learning and promote college and career readiness, and good citizenship.  The divisions are the first to earn the designation, which was authorized by the 2017 General Assembly.

“I think it’s fair to say that innovation has never been more important in public education than today as schools across the commonwealth and nation focus on improving distance learning in the face of a pandemic, while addressing inequities in opportunities and outcomes,” Board of Education President Gecker said.  “I congratulate the leaders of all these school divisions for creating innovative plans to address the challenges in their schools and engage their students in deeper learning across the curriculum.”

The following divisions are recognized by the Board of Education:

  • Buchanan County Public Schools
  • Goochland County Public Schools
  • Hampton Public Schools
  • Henrico County Public Schools
  • Hopewell Public Schools
  • Loudoun County Public Schools
  • Middlesex County Public Schools
  • Montgomery County Public Schools
  • Poquoson Public Schools
  • Roanoke County Public Schools
  • Salem Public Schools
  • Staunton Public Schools
  • Virginia Beach Public Schools
  • West Point Public Schools
  • York County Public Schools

“Virginia’s 132 school divisions have a history of sharing innovative and promising practices to improve student learning and outcomes and the School Division of Innovation recognition program is a means of institutionalizing this collaborative process,” stated Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane.  “I look forward to visiting all of these school divisions to see how their innovations are transforming teaching and learning.”

To earn the School Division of Innovation designation, a local school board must submit a plan that meets criteria set forth in the Board of Education regulations governing the recognition program.  Divisions earning the designation must submit an annual report to the Virginia Department of Education on progress toward meeting the goals and performance targets in their plans.  Divisions retain the School Division of Innovation designation for three years.


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