VBCPS - Charting the Course
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Natalie Allen
Date: 03/24/20 Phone: 757.263.1313
News Release No. 022 Fax: 757.263.1010
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Email: natalie.allen@vbschools.com

VBCPS receives national recognition for program that removes barriers for students

Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) is a first-place winner of the National School Board Association's 2020 Magna Award for removing barriers for students through JumpStart, a partnership between local nonprofit AidNow and the division's school social work services.

JumpStart is held each August for approximately 500 students identified as homeless and marginalized to receive much-needed supplies and services, such as backpacks, school supplies, clothing, haircuts, eye exams, toiletries and shelf-stable food. Philanthropic local businesses, nonprofit organizations and city agencies donate these services and supplies to AidNow, which brings together education, health, sanitation and physical resources to assist individuals throughout the world, and the division's office of social work to support students in need.

"Students who do not have what they need to feel equal to their peers can suffer from a lack of confidence and self-esteem, which can be a barrier for learning," said Dr. Aaron Spence, VBCPS superintendent. "Since 2009, JumpStart has provided the additional support, compassion and hope our students need to successfully launch each school year."

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) annually recognizes school divisions throughout the country with Magna Awards for programs that break down barriers for underserved students. This year's winners were selected from three categories based on enrollment: under 5,000 students, 5,000 to 20,000 students and over 20,000.

"Focusing on equity requires school leaders to think differently and creatively," said Thomas J. Gentzel, National School Boards Association executive director and CEO. "The 2020 Magna Award-winning districts showcase the amazing and innovative work going on in public schools to ensure students are supported and provided with the tools and opportunities needed to succeed."

The 26th annual Magna Awards program is supported by Sodexo, a leader in delivering sustainable, integrated facilities management and food service operations. An independent panel of school board members, administrators and other educators selected the winners from more than 100 submissions.

"We are honored to be recognized by the NSBA for our commitment to remove barriers and support equitable initiatives that offer all our students the opportunity to succeed in school" said Carolyn Rye, chairwoman of the Virginia Beach School Board. "JumpStart is a wonderful event that continues to grow every year, and this national recognition promotes the transformative power of partnerships between our community and school division."

All winners are highlighted in the April issue of the NSBA's flagship magazine, American School Board Journal at http://www.nsba.org/ASBJ.

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Department of Media and Communications, vbcpsweb@vbschools.com

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