Virginia Beach Schools are “Ahead of the curve,” except in terms of equity

Virginia Beach City Public Schools proudly carry numerous awards and accolades that sets the district apart not only regionally, but also nationally.

Between outperforming the nation on the SAT test and making The Washington Post’s “America’s Most Challenging High Schools” list, Virginia Beach has made a name for itself with regards to education.  Even with all of these achievements, improvements could still be made.

The most overlooked, but also the most significant improvement to be made is with equity.

According to the US Census Bureau American Community Survey, “The City of Virginia Beach has the second lowest poverty rate in the Hampton Roads area,” with children 17 and younger holding the highest poverty rate of any age group.

The fact is that most people don’t know about the amount of poverty living in Virginia Beach, but it is hard to argue that there is not a problem.

“Studies have shown that there is a direct link between poverty and student achievement,” said VBCPS Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence.

It is not only the responsibility of the School Board to take action against this issue, but students, staff members, and faculty should help in combating this problem as well.

One program that Virginia Beach schools has started to help fight hunger is the Beach Bag Project, which provides needy students with necessary food items over the weekend.  The donation of a few items can make a significant impact on a student, and, as previously mentioned, this issue is more prevalent than people realize.

According to Spence, about 40% of students in Virginia Beach schools are eligible for free or reduced lunch.

The Beach Bag Project is a great opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to help the School Board on their mission of charting the course to success by making an improvement to student achievement. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate in the Beach Bag Project by bringing food donations to the Student Activities Office.

“We have to make sure each student gets their very best,” said Spence.