VBCPS and NAS Oceana earn Pete Taylor Partnership of Excellence Award

Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) and Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana were presented the Exemplary Individual Project Partnership for the 2018 Pete Taylor Partnership of Excellence Award at the Military Child Education Coalition’s (MCEC) Annual National Training Seminar in Washington, D.C. Monday, July 23. 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. The award was given to honor the annual Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Lab Learning Day, which is held at NAS Oceana each September.

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 STEM leaders throughout the military and Hampton Roads community, including hearing from U.S. Navy pilots, mechanics and support personnel to understand how STEM is part of their work as well as get tours of NAS Oceana aircraft. The day ends with a special performance by the Navy’s elite flight demonstration team, The Blue Angels.

“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. 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. 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,” said Dr. Aaron Spence, superintendent of VBCPS.

This event is made possible through a combined partnership between VBCPS, NAS Oceana and a host of community partners. These partners include 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.

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.”

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