Environmental Science Magnet Program

Mary Jo Anastasio, Principal

The Environmental Science magnet is a comprehensive and balanced academic program built around the integrated themes of land, water, and air.

As an Environmental Science magnet school, the goal is to educate students to become responsible citizens who take an active part in protecting and caring for our global environment. The magnet program’s mission is to provide a strong educational program through hands-on learning and critical thinking. The program exposes students to a learning community that emphasizes discovery and exploration through collaborative study, scientific research and use of scientific tools and technology.


What is distinctive about this program?

Deer Park has a partnership with the Virginia Living Museum (VLM). Classes take monthly walking field experiences and participate in educational programs the museum offers at no cost to the school.

Deer Park has been a Model Level school for the Elizabeth River Project since 2012 by implementing conservation (recycling, litter clean-ups, energy conservation) projects and restoration (erosion, growing and planting specific plants on the Elizabeth River banks) projects. Students also participate in habitat enhancement projects such as raising/tagging Monarch butterflies, growing a butterfly garden, making bat houses to provide environmental friendly insect control and growing food for our school’s animals.

Another unique feature is that each classroom houses “fin, feather, fur or scale” animals. There are over fifty exhibits/ habitats within the school. Students research and create informational posters to display beside each one. Students learn about compassion and responsibility by caring for classroom pets and animal habitats.

The outdoor courtyard is an extension of the classroom and a key component of our ongoing environmental learning. It provides opportunities for meaningful hands-on lessons in responsibility, hard work, cooperation, commitment and a love for the environment. The courtyard is maintained by students, faculty, parents and various community organizations.

Who is eligible?

All students are eligible to apply for the Environmental Science magnet program, which serves kindergarten through fifth grade. Students are selected by computer lottery. Students currently enrolled and their siblings will have priority.

How do I apply?

All students who wish to attend our magnet program must submit an application by the January deadline. Applications are available at any Newport News school, the Administration Building and on the Newport News Public Schools website at www.nnschools.org/magnet.

Transportation is provided to all magnet programs.

What does the program require of parents?

Families are expected to be partners in education at the Discovery STEM Academy and sign an agreement to:

  • Sign and adhere to a parent/student/school magnet contract
  • Uphold the magnet’s standards and expectations in student academics, behavior, attendance and work study skills
  • Volunteer at least four hours during the school year
  • Communicate regularly with teachers and provide study time at home for nightly reading and homework