NORFOLK NAVAL SHIPYARD, Norfolk, Va. —
The pandemic has left some uncertainty throughout the nation, many areas struggling with what to do in the face of COVID-19. For Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) however, our workforce continues to march on, following safety guidelines while modernizing our nation’s greatest assets. This doesn’t just mean servicing our nation’s fleet of ships but also servicing our local communities – including the students who are dealing with distance learning and growing their knowledge within a COVID-19 environment.
“Every year, volunteers from America’s Shipyard venture out to our local schools and help mentor and tutor the students, helping to mold the minds of our youth and inspiring the workforce of tomorrow,” said Outreach Coordinator Valerie Fulwood. “This year we were met with the difficult challenge of the pandemic and we needed to find a way to continue that partnership with our community while also ensuring the safety of all involved.”
With distance learning becoming the norm in our local schools, the NNSY Outreach Program stepped forward with an idea.
“Our team believed that even as we faced an ongoing pandemic, there was still an opportunity for NNSY’s Outreach Program to have a major impact on these students in the Hampton Roads area,” said NNSY’s Champion for the Chesapeake Schools, Code 2360 Learning Standards Administrator Bruce Cruickshank. A former teacher himself, Cruickshank knew the importance of providing the tools students needed for them to continue to grow and succeed. “We proposed we begin making video content that could be provided to the teachers to present to their students, sharing how math, science, or reading impacts the everyday jobs here at NNSY.”
The Outreach Program led the charge in producing a video with the Shipyard Instructional Design Center (Code 1170), Cruickshank at the helm to be the spokesperson for this new initiative. The video covered how science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is heavily seen in the work being done at America’s Shipyard.
“Our goal here would be to inspire the children to want to learn more about the topics they are studying online with their teacher,” said Cruickshank. “We have eight champions for our Outreach Program, each with their own expertise in their trades that they could share with the students. This opens up the possibilities for students to not only have that connection with our shipyard workforce but to also be able to see footage firsthand of what we do. It helps inspire them to learn and also continues our influence on them even though we can’t be physically together in our current environment. We’re still reaching out and making a difference.”
Fulwood added, “We’re also looking into ways we could provide mentoring and tutoring efforts via virtual platforms like Zoom so that we’re still able to meet with the kids face-to-face, albeit from a distance, and provide that interaction and aid to them.”
“I truly believe that we at America’s Shipyard can make a difference this year by inspiring the children to want to learn more about the topics their teachers are presenting to them virtually,” said Cruickshank. “This also doesn’t limit our reach to just one school. By making these videos and providing them to the schools, our outreach can span multiple grade levels and we can help inspire so many to learn and grow. I’m proud of NNSY for facing the challenge head-on and servicing our community and nation.”