York County School Division Strategic Plan

Goal 2: Engagement & Rigor


Objective: Magnet Programs


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

Waller Mill Elementary School: Fine Arts Magnet
The mission of Waller Mill Elementary Fine Arts Magnet is to educate each child to become a productive, compassionate and responsible citizen by integrating the arts into a positive school experience focused on academic, creative, personal and social success.

  • The Second Annual Waller Mill Film Festival is a culminating event held in June. This year's theme, "Making a Difference" was inspired by our school's year-long Making Our Mark Matter message. All students worked collaboratively with their classmates to create original film productions to share with the WMES Community and their families. A student matinee was held during the school day followed by an evening showing for family and friends. The Film Festival drew a huge crowd for our evening showing. The event was emceed by our ETF, Eric Postman. The Future Filmmakers of America, an extracurricular fine arts club of the school, provided technical support with iMovie and helped in the production of the event.

  • Waller Mill kicked off the new school year by celebrating International Dot Day and committed to making a positive mark on the World! Students and staff gathered to create a school dot. This project set the stage for a yearlong focus on being creative, valuing student work and celebrating each child’s inner genius. In celebration of International Dot Day, students and staff created a human dot to Make Our Mark on the WORLD! Students also created their own dots with a variety of art mediums while viewing a “live stream” with The Dot author, Peter Reynolds. Angela Maiers visited our school three times to share her “You Matter” message and encouraged students to be passionate and to share their talents to better the lives of others.

Yorktown Elementary School: Math Science and Technology Magnet
The Yorktown Elementary Magnet School provides students with enriched instructional opportunities focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities designed to promote critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity in conjunction with a strong academic program in English, Reading and History.

  • Yorktown Elementary School students completed two e-missions with the Challenger Learning Center: Hurricane Alert and Project Montserrat. E-missions are simulated, problem-based learning adventures that incorporate elements of STEM and Transformative Learning and are conducted via SKYPE with a mission commander. The actual missions are the culmination of weeks of preparation and require students to perform authentic meteorological tasks in real time based on scientific data.

  • Yorktown Elementary Family STEM Nights offer parents the opportunity to learn alongside their children. Each family team receives a design brief to complete a project such as bridge building or paper airplane design. STEM Family Nights also feature activities and displays by our community partners including Jefferson Lab, NASA, and The Virginia Living Museum. Family STEM Nights offer parents insight into their children’s learning day and strengthen the school and home partnership.

Queens Lake Middle School: Middle School Arts Magnet
The Middle School Arts Magnet provides enrichment and instruction in literary arts, theatre arts and rhythmic for students in grades 6-8. Focused upon making 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 December 2012, Elizabeth Broadhurst, who played the role of Mrs. Banks in the hit Broadway musical Mary Poppins, presented an acting workshop for mSAM & SOA students. Students received an eye-opening backstage tour following a matinee performance of the musical at Chrysler Hall.

  • In April 2013, 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 2013 was "Bring on Broadway."

Yorktown Middle School: IB Middle Years Programme
Yorktown Middle School is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, proud to offer the Middle Years Programme (MYP). The MYP seeks to empower students in grades 6 - 8 to learn more about themselves through the IB Learner Profile and to learn more about the world round them through internationally minded study which connects school subjects to the real-world experiences of those around the globe. During the 2012-13 school year, Yorktown Middle’s MYP expanded to include all sixth grade students, and faculty collaborated to develop plans to include all YMS students in the MYP by the 2014-15 school year.

  • MYP 8th graders completed Culminating Projects in which they explored the United Nations Millennium Development Goals - a worldwide commitment to eradicate extreme poverty by 2015. Students selected and researched topics of global importance ranging from “The Impact of HIV/AIDS on Sub-Saharan Africa” to “Gender Equality in Pakistan.” They shared their findings with a global audience using a variety of digital tools and presented their experiences to members of the YMS community.

  • The YMS community celebrated the theme “YMS - More Than a Middle School! Making a Difference Locally and Globally” through a variety of educational experiences. The MYP Guest Lecture Series included a visit from US Department of State Foreign Service Officer who spoke about his experiences in Manila, Philippines, and Beijing, China. Sixth grade English classes participated in the Heifer International “Read to Feed” project, raising nearly $3,000 to fight global hunger.

  • During the 2013-14 school year, the faculty of Yorktown Middle School will complete a required self-evaluation of the implementation of the Middle Years Programme. Through this process, the faculty will consider the ways in which the school’s philosophy, organizational structure, teaching practices, and assessment policies align with the beliefs of the IB MYP. In the fall of 2014, an IB site-visit team will observe YMS in action and assess implementation of the IB Middle Years Programme.

Bruton High School: 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, dance 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 into the school, as well as opportunities for students to take field trips.

  • In 2012-13, four SOA Literary Arts students won the SPARC (School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community) New Voices for the Theatre, a state-wide playwriting competition. Two of these students had their plays performed onstage in July, 2013, 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 Theatre had a great year in 2012. Their one act production, Tough, directed by Sarah Dixon, was awarded second place in the Virginia Theatre Association Conference and was selected to go to the South Eastern Theatre Conference. One of the SOA tech students received an honorable mention award for her stage design, and three acting students received first place honors at the state level. SOA was also the first amateur theatre group to perform Young Frankenstein, a production that received rave reviews.

York High School: IB Diploma Programme
York High School is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, offering IB Diploma Programme (DP) courses to students in grades 11 and 12 who seek a rigorous academic experience. Diploma Programme Courses Students elect to take individual DP courses; other students pursue the full Diploma Programme, studying 6 DP subjects, participating in a course in the Theory of Knowledge, writing an Extended Essay, and completing the Creativity, Action and Service program. Eligible students in grades 9 and 10 participate in the Pre-Diploma program. The Diploma Programme seeks to empower students to learn more about themselves through the IB Learner Profile and the interconnected world in which they live through internationally minded, interdisciplinary studies. Ultimately, DP learners are challenged to fulfill the IB’s mission to “create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect” (excerpted from the Mission Statement of the International Baccalaureate Organization).

  • During the 2012-13 school year, IB students at York High School were involved in a variety of opportunities to explore - and take action in - the world around them. Activities included a presentation by the Chair of the Christopher Newport University’s Mathematics Department on the global collaboration involved in the confirmation of the Higgs Boson, a Skype chat with a YHS IB alumna currently engaged in human rights work in the Philippines, and collaboration with elementary school students across York County through the Monarch Initiative.

  • York High School IB DP graduates continue to garner extensive academic recognition:
    • Members of the Class of 2013 were awarded $1,414,940.00 in scholarships
    • 100% of the Class of 2013 enrolled in a four-year college or university, choosing to attend top universities in Virginia and across the US
    • Two members of the Class of 2013 were named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists

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