Virginia Beach’s Landstown receives national nod as a 21st Century ‘exemplar’ school

Landstown High School is one of 16 schools nationwide to be named a  21st Century Learning Exemplar for 2016 by P21, a national nonprofit that advocates for students to be ready for the 21st century.

Landstown High School was named a P21 Exemplar School. (Courtesy of
Landstown High School was named a P21 Exemplar School. (Courtesy of

Principal Brian Matney called the designation “an incredible honor” for his students and teachers.

“This shows their hard work,” Matney said. “It inspires them to reach for the next level.”

Matney said his school had to complete a rigorous application process, which included a site visit from P21 officials in October. He said he believes Landstown, which also houses the Governor’s STEM and Technology Academy, was chosen because of how it incorporates critical thinking skills and collaborative work into the classrooms.

Landstown was the only school in Virginia chosen this year as a 21st Century Exemplar. It joins Virginia Beach’s Ocean Lakes High School as the only two schools in the commonwealth to receive the recognition.

The P21 program has designated almost 60 schools across the country as exemplars over the last four years. It was created to identify schools with practices that demonstrate 21st century learning, according to the organization’s website.

To qualify, schools must show student success in key subjects, such as English, science and math, and show how their curriculum incorporates such themes as global awareness, financial literacy and civic literacy, according to the website. Schools must also demonstrate that their students have learning, innovation, information, media and technological skills.

Matney called the designation a “prelude” because the school will receive more visits from P21 as it completes a case study on Landstown High School. That work will look at areas of success and opportunities for improvement. The school also now joins a network of exemplar schools that can learn from each other, Matney said.

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