VBCPS and Naval Air Station Oceana honored for working in unison to help meet the needs of military
The city's school division and Naval Air Station Oceana have received the Exemplary Individual Project Partnership for the 2018 Pete Taylor Partnership of Excellence Award. The presentation took place recently at the Military Child Education Coalition's Annual National Training Seminar in Washington, D.C.
"This national recognition is awarded annually to acknowledge outstanding partnerships between school districts and military installations, that work together to meet the unique challenges facing the nation's military children and provide them with quality educational opportunities," said division publicist, Lauren Nolasco. "The award was given to honor the annual Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Lab Learning Day, which is held each September at NAS Oceana."
As part of the STEM Lab Learning Day, more than 5,000 fifth-graders head to Oceana and take part in a series of hands-on learning stations.
They also meet and hear from STEM leaders throughout the military and Hampton Roads community, including U.S. Navy pilots, mechanics and support personnel, to better understand how STEM is part of their work; the students will also be able to get close to NAS Oceana aircraft.
The day ends with a special performance by the Navy's elite flight demonstration team, The Blue Angels.
This event is made possible through a combined partnership between Virginia Beach City Public Schools, NAS Oceana and a host of community partners, including NASA Langley, the Navy Seabees, Tidewater Community College, Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Virginian Wesleyan University, Dominion Energy, Mad Science of Hampton Roads and Old Dominion University.
"Virginia Beach is a military town," said NAS Oceana Commander Chad Vincelette. "The partnership we have built with the school division shows the Navy is a good neighbor to the residents of Virginia Beach. That partnership with VBCPS continues to build on the great relationship we already have with the city of Virginia Beach.
"The relationship between the Navy, the city and the school division because of the STEM Lab Learning Day has become stronger," Vincelette continued. "The benefit of this is, the payoff of inspiring students and bettering the nation by providing students who have been given a great education and school experience."
This year, the STEM Lab Learning Day will take place Friday, Sept.21, when NAS Oceana will also be celebrating its 75th anniversary.
The Pete Taylor Partnership of Excellence Award was established in 2004 by the MCEC board of directors to honor LTG (Ret) H.G. "Pete" Taylor for his work and dedication to helping America's military children. It promotes and applauds the critical role that school-military partnerships play to foster the sharing of lessons learned and to recognize that "goodness starts at the local level."
"Here in Virginia Beach, we are fortunate to have a large military presence, including a high military-connected population in our schools as well as multiple military installations in our area," said Dr. Aaron Spence, division superintendent. "Naturally, we want to make sure we are using every resource possible to meet the needs of our military children as well as leverage the opportunities we have by working directly with our military partners.
"One of the best examples of that is our STEM Lab Learning Day," Spence continued. "To have MCEC honor this work and this effort is a testament to our dedicated staff members and NAS Oceana partners who work each day to provide our students with real-world learning opportunities and unforgettable experiences - and who work particularly hard each year to bring our fifth-grade students this experience."