The Norfolk City Public Schools is made up of 56 schools, including five high schools, eight middle schools, 34 elementary schools, and nine special purpose/preschools. In 2005, Norfolk Public Schools won the $1 million Broad Prize for Urban Education award for reducing achievement gaps for poor and minority students. There are also plenty of private school options in Norfolk such as the Norfolk Academy, founded in 1728. There are a number of religious institutions, including the St. Pius X Catholic School, the Holy Trinity Parish School, Alliance Christian School, Christ the King School, and Norfolk Christian School.
Secondary education options include Old Dominion University, Norfolk State University and Virginia Wesleyan College, all which are four-year institutions. There is also Tidewater Community College located in the downtown area.
Economy and Job Market
Norfolk's economy is closely linked to the military. Not only does the town house and support one of the world's largest naval bases, but the area also boasts a number of defense contractors. With the unique geography and access to water, shipbuilding and ship repair are booming industries. Those waterways have also lead to a number of cargo ports, which is the second largest industry behind the military. Many of the ports are operated by the Commonwealth of Virginia and boasts the world's largest and fastest container cranes. Overall, Norfolk is the second busiest port on the east coast, while the Lambert's Point Docks is the largest coal trans-shipment point in the Northern Hemisphere.
Downtown Norfolk has had a huge revitalization which has only added to the already strong tourism industry. The addition of a cruise ship port will only add additional tourism opportunities in the area.
Attractions and Points of Interest
Norfolk boasts numerous points of interest. There are a number of beaches, including three city run beaches. With two rivers and the bay, there are plenty of water sports available to the residents of Norfolk. Downtown has a number of museums and cultural activities, as well as the zoo, botanical garden and outdoor marketplaces. There are a number of festivals and events throughout the year including Norfolk Harborfest, Bayoo Boogaloo and Cajun Food Festival, the Parade of the Sail and the Norfolk Jazz Festival.
Sports play a role in the area as the city serves as home to two professional franchises, the Norfolk Tides baseball team of the International League and the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League. On the collegiate level, the Old Dominion Monarchs and the Norfolk State University Spartans provide many sports including football, basketball, and baseball. Virginia Wesleyan College also provides sports at the NCAA Division III level.
Parks and Recreations
Norfolk has a very strong Parks and Recreation department. As early as the 1890s the community realized the importance of parks in community building. There are five main city parks in addition to Town Pointe Park in downtown Norfolk. A key city center, Town Point Park hosts numerous events including the annual Norfolk Harborfest every June.
In addition to local parks, Norfolk offers over 20 neighborhood recreation centers. Each center offers cultural, athletic, health, educational and social activities and programs. The Parks and Recreation department feels the centers can better enrich lives and there is a particular emphasis on "the building, reinforcing of a positive self-image."
There are three city maintained beaches in the Ocean View area, as well as a Botanical Garden and a zoo that has an endangered Siberian Tiger habitat.
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