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.

  • Waller Mill Elementary hosts an annual Dinner Theater every February. This program draws on students' artistic talents to create and perform an original production. The Dinner Theatre program allows students to gain valuable experience in all aspects of theater production to include character development, script development and rewrites, as well as work behind the scenes on set creation and construction, and lighting and sound equipment operation.

  • Each September, Children's Author, Peter Reynolds sponsors International Dot Day to honor and celebrate creativity, courage and collaboration in our world. Students from across the globe are challenged to "Make your mark and see where it takes you!" In celebration of Dot Day 2014, WMES students decorated Buddy Benches, which are special places for students to go when they feel lonely on the playground. WMES Students hand painted their own "dots" on the benches and participated in a school-wide assembly to share their commitments to making their mark on our world this year

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.

  • In June of 2014, YES students researched and designed ways to protect astronauts from space radiation as part of the NASA Orion Design Challenge. Students conducted a Ray Shielding Activity to analyze various materials and their ability to block simulated space radiation. Over 600 YES "student engineers" submitted their findings to NASA and had their names added to the NASA database of virtual flight crew members. This database will fly on Orion's Exploration Flight Test and will also be included as part of the permanent Orion exhibit at the Smithsonian.

  • Yorktown Elementary School celebrated student work and community partnerships at our Annual Math, Science & Technology Night on April 17, 2014. Student STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) projects were on display throughout the school including working mini-golf courses, the Christopher Newport Boat Building challenge, the YES Recycling Project, and the Monarch Initiative. During the evening, students and parents participated in hands-on science activities, visited the school Star Lab planetarium, and interacted with community partners from the College of William and Mary, NASA, the Air and Space Museum, and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

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 January 2014, mSAM students were invited to tour the Colonial Williamsburg Studios and participate in the video premiere of the Electronic Field Trip "The Amazing Trade Shop Math Race." This was a special opportunity, as several mSAM students performed in the video.

  • During the 2013-14 school year, the collaborative mSAM/SOA Caribbean Steel Drum Rhythm Ensemble performed at numerous venues throughout the Tidewater area, including Williamsburg 2nd Sunday Art Festival, Chambrel Senior Living Community, VA Beach PANfest Steel Drum Festival, and the inaugural Williamsburg Latin Festival. The mSAM/SOA Steel Drum Rhythm Ensemble represents the only sanctioned Virginia Arts Festival ensemble established on the Peninsula.

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. 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. 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 2013-14 school year, IB seniors participated in the Group 4 Science Project and Symposium in which they presented projects on environmental conflict along with graduate fellows from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Students also participated in other activities to include maintaining a garden on school grounds, attending a presentation by a former Fulbright Scholar, and participating in a panel discussion led by IB graduates regarding the rigors of college in an increasingly internationally-connected world.

  • York High School IB DP graduates, having completed a rigorous program of studies, continue to garner extensive academic recognition:
    • Members of the Class of 2014 were awarded $1,663,722.00 in scholarships.
    • 100% of the Class of 2014 enrolled in a four-year college or university, including the University of Virginia, the College of William and Mary, Clemson University and the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.
    • Two members of the Class of 2014 were named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists.

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.

  • School of the Arts (SOA) students traveled to London and Paris during the summer of 2014 as part of a Theatre and Literature-based field trip. Students visited Shakespeare's House in London, participated in workshops at the Drury Lane Theatre Royal with the choreographer from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the director of the British version of Jersey Boys. Students also visited historical sites, toured the National Theatre, met with actors, and visited the Eiffel Tower.

  • SOA has a thriving partnership with the US Heritage of America Bands through the United States Air Force. Two of their bands, the Blue Aces and Rambling Blues, visited SOA last year. Both bands discussed aspects of having a career in the arts, the importance of working towards goals, and the benefit of putting forth effort.

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