York County School Division Strategic Plan

Rigorous Engagement

Updated November 2011

3. The York County School Division will engage all students in rigorous educational experiences.

• The Division average class size at the elementary level will be at or below 20:1 for students in grades K-2 and 25:1 for students in grades 3-5, subject to available resources. The Division average class size in core classes at the secondary level will be below 30 students, subject to available resources.

• In spite of the continued decline in state resources, all of the division class size targets were met as of September 30, 2011.


• The division will develop a new technology implementation plan by June 30, 2009, that provides greater access, more frequent and smaller upgrades, and service-oriented support of users. The plan will be reviewed and revised annually.

• The implementation of state-of-the-art virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) technology, initiated in March 2009, enables teachers to access any and all software, applications and resources literally from anywhere, at any time, on any device.
Network upgrades were continued in the summer 2011 to accommodate substantial increase in network traffic, improve the speed and quality of internet access, and enhance wireless access.
• The virtual learning program is meeting the needs of YCSD students providing more than 65 online course options taught by highly qualified teachers and extending classroom instruction through blended virtual components during the 2011-12 school year.
• Increased student and staff access to tools for learning, sharing and broadcasting, such as online collaboration tools, student email, screencasting and mobile learning devices.
• As a result of the new infrastructure designed to provide greater access, in 2010-11 school -based technology committees purchased software and peripherals to support student learning using stimulus funds.


• The division will continue to provide engaging, rigorous opportunities for student learning through multiple magnet/thematic programs.

Waller Mill Elementary School Fine Arts Magnet
Waller Mill Elementary School Fine Arts Magnet supports all students in becoming productive, compassionate and responsible citizens by integrating the arts into a positive school experience focused on academic, creative, personal and social success.

• In August 2011, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts set the stage for Waller Mill Elementary School Fine Arts Magnet Teachers to receive professional development on Arts Integration and Critical Thinking Skills. This training correlated with School Division Initiatives and teachers will integrate their knowledge to create engaging lessons throughout the year to promote the use of visual arts in student learning. (Photo)
• To open the 2011-12 school year, the Williamsburg Consort German Band entertained students and staff with music and traditions from their 2011 Concert Performances. 110 Musicians from across the United States came together in Williamsburg to share their talents in three forms; Full Concert, Jazz and German Bands. WMES Students were able to hear a variety of traditional German Music and see 20 different instruments in use. Students were selected to work with band members and try their hand at the instruments. The alp horn was a crowd favorite. (Photo)

Yorktown Elementary School Math Science and Technology Magnet
The Yorktown Elementary Magnet School provides students with enriched instructional opportunities for in-depth and integrated studies of math, science and technology in conjunction with a strong academic program in English, Reading and History.

• In the 2010-2011 school year, YES students participated in the Stock Market Game. This activity challenges cooperative groups of students to grow their virtual portfolios by researching, trading, and monitoring stocks throughout the school year. (Video)
• In February 2011 YES fourth and fifth grade students participated in the Elementary Applications to Shipbuilding (EASE) Boat Design Competition, with the fifth grade team placing seventh in the SEAFOIL State Competition. This competition is an authentic learning experience in which students are challenged to apply math and science knowledge within the boat design learning module.

Queens Lake Middle School: Middle School Arts Magnet
The Middle School Arts Magnet provides enrichment and instruction in the literary arts, theatre arts and rhythmic arts for students in grades 6-8. Helping students make connections between the arts and their core academic subjects, the mSAM program encourages the development of written and oral communication skills, critical thinking and problem-solving skills in a creative and interdisciplinary environment.

• In May 2011, mSAM students collaborated with School of the Arts (SOA) students on a performance for the Rhythmic Arts Jubilee. The Jubilee serves as an exciting way to showcase the Rhythmic Arts component of both the mSAM and SOA programs. The theme for 2011 was "Time of My Life."

Yorktown Middle School: IB Middle Years Programme
After a successful first year as an IB World School, the Yorktown Middle School Middle Years Programme (MYP) is expanding to include all YMS students over the next three years. Designed for students in grades 6 through 8, the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) teaches students to become independent learners who can discover the relationship between school subjects and the world. The MYP fosters the individual talents of students and helps middle school students become inquisitive life-long learners who have a cultural appreciation for the world around them.

• MYP students are exploring the 2011-2012 theme - My Place in the World - through a variety of global education opportunities. The guest speaker series includes a visit from a YCSD alumnus who will discuss his experiences conducting geological research in the mountains of Argentina. Eighth grade MYP students are blogging about content-specific topics with English learners in Seoul, South Korea. All MYP students have been invited to collaborate on community service with a school in Kazakhstan through a project sponsored by the US Department of State's Embassy in Kazakhstan.

Bruton High: School of the Arts
The York County School of the Arts (SOA) is a dynamic fine arts program designed to push students towards academic growth and artistic development through a combination of rigorous in-class learning experiences and a host of extracurricular enrichment experiences. While the overall program emphasizes the multidisciplinary nature of the arts, students audition to attend one of four programs specializing in the literary arts, rhythmic arts, theatre arts, or technical theatre arts. All classes receive guest artist lectures and activities in the areas of fine arts and music. There are also many performances brought in to the program, as well as opportunities for field trips.

• In 2011, three SOA Literary Arts students won the SPARC New Voices for the Theatre, a state-wide playwriting competition. These students had their plays performed onstage in July, 2011 at the end of a two-week intensive residency at VCU where they worked with directors, actors, and designers to participate in all aspects of playwriting.
• SOA is planning to travel to Italy in 2012 to participate in their artistic and culture offerings. The students attending will meet with a master craftsman to learn the art of mask making, will meet with a professional chef to cook a three course meal, will meet with Italian high school students in Florence, and will attend Gladiator School in Rome.
• The students attending will meet with a master craftsman to learn the art of mask making, will meet with a professional chef to cook a three course meal, will meet with Italian high school students in Florence, and will attend Gladiator School in Rome

York High: IB Diploma Programme
The IB Diploma Programme (DP) at York High School is a rigorous college preparatory course of study for eligible, academically-talented students in grades 11 and 12; the Pre-Diploma Programme serves qualified students in grades 9 and 10. IB courses are designed to help students develop strong writing, time-management, oral communication and critical/higher-order thinking skills across the curriculum as they prepare for success in a global society. (Photo)

• The IB Diploma Programme at YHS continues to demonstrate significant impact on its students. In 2011-2012, IB students are celebrating:
     • the completion of over 14, 000 hours of work in Community, Action, and Service projects by the IB Class of 2011
     • the award of IB Diplomas to 100% of the Class of 2011 candidates
     • offers of $828, 715 in scholarships to IB students in the Class of 2011
     • the naming of two IB students in the Class of 2012 as National Merit Semifinalists


• By 2010, staff will review and make recommendations regarding the implementation of an assessment tool which measures critical thinking, analytical reasoning, problem solving and written communication skills.

• Using an assessment of this nature could provide significant benefits. However, due to logistical, financial, and additional challenges, this objective was deferred until FY13.


• Beginning in 2010 staff will integrate the use of digital technologies into curriculum guides to support the development of 21st Century learning skills.

• In FY11, Educational Technology Facilitators (ETF) and Educational Technology staff worked with teachers to revise curriculum and integrate digital technologies into more than 30 courses. In FY12, ETFs and teachers will update twenty additional courses to include the integration of digital technologies.


• The division will develop a plan by Oct. 1, 2009, for offering a new sequence of Career and Technical Education courses in at least one high school. The plan will be implemented by the start of the 2010-11 school year.

• In 2011-2012, 20 students enrolled in Medical Terminology, the second year course in the CTE Health and Medical Sciences Program at Bruton High School. Preliminary plans are being made for the third year course in Leadership Development, which may include job-shadowing and/or mentoring experiences in the medical field.
• Students in the Health and Medical Sciences Program will participate in several health science activities to include visiting the William and Mary Cadaver Lab at William and Mary and the Simulation Lab at Medical Career Institute. Students will earn Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), First Aid and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) certifications and participate in a community service project for ICU patients at Sentara hospital.


• The number of high school students earning career and technical certifications, state licenses, or successfully completing national occupational assessment credentials will increase annually by 5 percent.

• In 2010-11, 191 students took state licensure, CTE certification, and/or national occupational assessments; an increase of 62% from the previous year. The number of CTE industry certifications, NOCTI credentials and state licenses awarded to students increased by 86% over the previous year.



View the current Strategic Plan

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Division Superintendent: Victor D. Shandor, Ed.D.
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