We relocated the school to the education wing at Beth El Synagogue and strengthened our partnership with New Life Church. We officially began our middle school by adding 6th grade to our program and opened our roster up to 15 students per class. Our overall capacity is 75 students. We added a Global Studies course as a resource class for everyone and a GoogleDocs and Life Skills course and a Drama course through Cason Acting Company for our 6th grade. Volunteers from Beth El support our program through creative writing, the BeAR program, and weekly interactions with our students. Additionally, The FOCUS center provided interns from ODU and NSU this year.
Additional partnerships were added to our program. Regent University, EVMS, ODU, U.S. Navy, computer class, The Y on Granby, Compass Youth Services,the National Institute for Learning Development, New Life Church, Christ the Redeemer Church, Ghent Area Ministries, and WAVE City Care were all involved in helping make our year a wonderful success. Transportation services were added to enable us to reach students in other neighborhoods in Norfolk.
Second grade was added to our program. Additional Chromebooks were purchased allowing us to become a 1:1 school.
We began the school year with 34 students and added fifth grade. We have been so blessed to have received grants to help us have great amenities. Our technology has been upgraded to help teachers with instruction and students to benefit from these innovations. We’ve been able to purchase excellent materials to support a STEM initiative (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Additionally, The Academy of Music has begun a violin program with PPS students.
The doors were once again opened with 23 students in third and fourth grades and a new instructional and administrative team. A first, we partnered with Norfolk Public Schools to refer students and provide curricular materials. We look forward to hard work and success for these young learners.
Park Place School took a sabbatical year to evaluate their program. The Board recruited local education leaders to develop a plan for implementing a new program for at-risk children in Norfolk. The idea was to again begin with the third grade and have in place a team of teachers, aides, and volunteers who could provide small group settings and intense instruction focused on basic math and language skills – in an environment promoting strong Christian principles.
We realized that the earlier students began an intervention program, the more likely improvements could be seen. The class entering 2004 were third graders. When they completed the program in 2007, they also made some remarkable gains in both achievement scores but also in ability as measured through intelligence tests. Our 2007 student body began in a combined second/third grade. Students continued to realize significant gains in achievement and ability.
2001 was Park Place School’s first year of operation with two fourth grade classes, each with 12 students. At completion of the three year-program the first class of students had an average gain of 40% points in math, 28% points in reading, and 18% points in spelling. This was an extraordinary accomplishment.
Park Place United Methodist Church donated two floors of their educational building to the school. In six months, the Board of Directors raised over $300,000 to renovate the donated space. Construction began on classrooms, resource rooms, administrative offices, and the library. The church educational building became a day school ready to serve the Park Place neighborhood.
From 1996 through 1999 our pilot project – ‘Project Rebound’ targeted 10 students who improved their test scores in the core subjects for reading, math, and spelling an average of just over 20 percentage points. The students came from Norfolk Public School middle schools and were reading on the second grade level. After completion of our three-year pilot project our students were re-enrolled back into Norfolk Public Schools working at/or above grade level. All of the students which attended ‘Project Rebound’ graduated from high school.