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Students learning about oyster shedding on location Students learning about oyster shedding on location Students learning about oyster shedding on location
boy throwing an oyster into the creek Students learning about oyster shedding on location Students learning about oyster shedding on location

HCS Hampton Environmental Literacy Program (H.E.L.P.) selected as a Programs that Work recipient

The Virginia Mathematics and Science Coalition selected the Hampton City Schools Hampton Environmental Literacy Program (H.E.L.P.) as a Programs that Work recipient for 2019. H.E.L.P. is organized and administered by Venicia Ferrell, science curriculum leader and the science department of HCS.

student holding oyster shell that says I hope you live long!H.E.L.P. is an environmental education program tasked with reaching Hampton City Schools students in grades four through eight, biology, oceanography, ecology, and environmental science with high quality and impactful watershed experiences embedded into the science curricula. The program was developed to build teacher capacity in the development and implementation of engaging and relevant field investigations and meaningful watershed education experiences (MWEEs) with students.  The ultimate goal of H.E.L.P. has been to ensure that each HCS student has experienced at least three MWEE or field investigations prior to graduation – one each at elementary, middle, and high school – so that they graduate ready to assume leadership in environmental planning and decision-making within their communities.

HCS partners with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), James River Association (JRA), and other local entities to provide quality training experiences for teachers, field experiences and opportunities to engage in service-learning and citizen science projects for students.

Throughout the four-year program period, the project has surpassed its goals and has been recognized by Senator Mark Warner and the Hampton Clean City Commission as an exemplary environmental education program.

Over the last four years H.E.L.P. has:

  • Provided a five-day summer immersion course for 34 elementary teachers and 48 middle and high school teachers on how to lead field experiences, conduct habitat enhancement projects, integrate STEM and environmental curriculum materials into classroom instruction, and secure funding for ongoing projects
  • Engaged 80 classes (approximately 2,000 students) in model MWEE experiences in conjunction with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and James River Association via canoe or boat trips
  • Engaged science students in environmental research or watershed restoration/protection service learning projects: creation of a National Wildlife Federation certified schoolyard wildlife habitat; participation in multiple school grounds and community cleanups; raising, monitoring and planting of over 72,000 oysters; creation of an oyster reef; installation of two rain gardens and a myriad of other school gardens; installation of rain barrels at most schools; storm drain stenciling at all eight middle and four high schools
  • Developed an annual Environmental Literacy Expo where community organizations that focus on environmental literacy come together to hold an outreach event and HCS teachers are able to secure resources, ask questions, and build partnerships

Representatives of HCS have been invited to attend an awards ceremony and mini-conference on January 15, 2019, at the State Library of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia.

Representatives of the science department have also been invited to present on H.E.L.P. at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) conference in St. Louis on April 11 through 14, 2019.

Representatives of the science department trophy

©2018 HAMPTON CITY SCHOOLS All rights reserved - One Franklin Street, Hampton Virginia 23669 - 757-727-2000

HCS does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age or other protected classes in its programs and activities and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Robbin G. Ruth, Executive Director, Human Resources, One Franklin Street, Hampton, VA 23669 757-727-2000. 

As stated in School Board Policy AC, Hampton City Schools (“HCS”) does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender, age, disability or other protected class in its programs, activities and employment practices and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups.  HCS also prohibits retaliation under School Board Policy GBAH for the purpose of interfering with a person’s rights and/or privileges under federal civil rights laws, which can include: (i) raising concerns with Division personnel about a civil rights violation; (ii) asserting a right or advocating for the rights of a student or employee under federal civil rights laws; or (iii) participating in a complaint investigation or related proceedings. 

All individuals are encouraged to promptly report any incident they believe to be discrimination, harassment or retaliation in violation of HCS School Board Policy.  All reports should be made to the HCS Compliance Officer, who also serves as the HCS Executive Director of Human Resources.  Upon receiving a report of alleged discrimination, harassment or retaliation, the Compliance Officer shall promptly authorize an investigation into the complaint, determine whether the alleged act occurred, and determine whether any action must be taken to end or prevent further harassment, discrimination, or retaliation.  For more information about this process, please review School Board Policy GBAB-R.    

Should you have any questions about these procedures or the contents of this notice, please contact Hampton City Schools Compliance Officer at: One Franklin Street, Hampton, VA  23669 or (757) 727-2300.  



Hampton City Schools (HCS) is committed to making its website accessible for all, including individuals with disabilities, and strives to ensure accessibility currently and as new technologies emerge.  The division welcomes questions and feedback on the site’s accessibility at each development phase.  By clicking on “Contact” at the upper right of the main webpage, all users are able to “Help Resolve a Concern,” “Share a Story,” “Provide Feedback,” and “Ask a Question.”  Additionally, the Contact Us page provides direct email access to HCS Webmaster Vickie Carper,


HCS’s computer systems and networks include all of the computer hardware, operating system software, application software, stored text, data files, electronic mail (email), local databases, externally accessed databases, CD-ROM, optical media, clip art, digital images, digitized information, communications technologies, and new available technologies.

Please note that some pages on the HCS website contain links to third-party sites.  HCS is not responsible for the content, facts, opinions or accessibility of third-party sites.


The majority of pages in our site are available in HTML format that can be deciphered by screen readers. Some documents are in Portable Document Format (PDF), which require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.

  • To download this free program, visit the Adobe website.
  • To read PDF documents with a screen reader, please link to the Access Adobe website, which provides useful tools and resources.

Also, many popular browsers contain built-in accessibility tools, and there are other plug-ins that make websites more accessible.

The HCS website is designed and monitored by HCS Webmaster Vickie Carper, who serves as the gatekeeper for website content and accessibility.   The Webmaster is under the direction of the Executive Director of Public Relations and Marketing, supervised by the Director of Graphics.
Web visitors using assistive technology who may have trouble accessing information on the website may contact the HCS Webmaster,, the Executive Director of Public Relations and Marketing, and/or the Director of Graphics,

When submitting a question or concern via email, “accessibility” should be included in the subject line.  Every reasonable attempt will be made to address the user’s concern within twenty-four hours.  To assist HCS in responding appropriately, all inquiries should include the following information:

  • A description of the accessibility concern or question;
  • The webpage address of the requested material;
  • The format in which the user prefers to receive the material;
  • The user’s contact information, including preferred method of contact.


HCS monitors all technology resource activity and requires all employees, students and individuals with access to HCS computer systems and networks to annually read and sign an Acceptable Use Policy.  See School Board Policy IIBEA for Students; School Board Policy GBBB for Employees.

Our continuing goal is for the HCS website to be accessible to individuals with disabilities in compliance with the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and that statute's implementing regulations at 34 C.F.R. Part 104, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and that statute's implementing regulations at 28 C.F.R. Part 35.

Good faith efforts are being made to ensure that our website complies with web accessibility standards. In addition to the federal regulations above, we are actively working to conform to level AA of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.
Prior to posting new website content, the HCS Webmaster determines if the proposed content meets the criteria of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).  Periodically the HCS Webmaster checks the website with a recognized website checker such as 508 Checker and WAVE.  If the audit identifies issues of concern or content errors that impede accessibility to any user, the concerns/errors are evaluated and remedied within a six-week period.


HCS’s website and computer systems and networks are provided on an “as available” basis.  HCS makes no warranties, expressed or implied, without limitation, regarding the fitness for a particular purpose regarding any service provided by the system and any information contained or software used therein.  The division uses hardware and software provided by third-party technology vendors.  Therefore, the division does not warrant that the functions or services performed by, or that the information or software on the system, will meet the user’s requirements.