Northampton Considers Alternative Diploma Program for Adults


By Stefanie Jackson – Northampton County Public Schools (NCPS) has the opportunity to cooperate with Eastern Shore Community College (ESCC) to provide adults on the Shore another option for getting a high school diploma beside the GED (general education diploma).

Amy Shockley, ESCC adult education director, gave an overview of the program at the Northampton school board meeting Jan. 27.

The National External Diploma Program (NEDP) is another way for an adult to earn a high school diploma, and it’s approved by the Virginia Department of Education.

The NEDP is geared toward adults who have acquired high school-level skills through life experiences and can demonstrate those skills through simulations of job and life situations.

Program participants with internet access can complete portfolios of their academic and life skills completely online.

The skills that must be demonstrated to earn a diploma are divided into three categories:

  • Foundation Skills and Core Subjects covers reading and writing, math, information and communication technology, listening and speaking, media literacy, and geography, history, and science.
  • 21st Century Themes in Context includes cultural literacy, civic literacy and community participation, health literacy, financial literacy and consumer awareness, the 21st century workplace, and learning to learn.
  • Self-Efficacy Skills covers self-assessment, learning to learn, critical thinking and problem solving, goal-setting and time management, self-direction, and working independently.

There are three requirements for a school division to participate in the program:

  • The school board must commit to award an adult high school diploma to every NEDP graduate who has demonstrated NEDP competencies with 100% mastery; this would be accomplished through a letter of agreement between NCPS and ESCC.
  • Each NEDP graduate will receive an adult high school diploma, which is a Virginia accredited diploma.
  • The school division must follow state and local guidelines for record retention for NEDP graduates as it does for other graduates.

High School Gym Floor

In early November 2021, Superintendent Eddie Lawrence notified parents that low levels of mercury had been detected in the Northampton High School gym floor.

The mercury was produced when the flooring, which began as a liquid, was poured and a catalyst was introduced to give the finished floor a rubberized texture.

Out of an abundance of caution, the school division moved up the replacement of the gym floor in the Northampton High School improvement plan.

Lawrence had “awful good news” Jan. 27 when he reported the gym floor was retested the previous week and “there was not enough mercury to detect.”

He attributed this to the efforts of Northampton schools’ operations and maintenance staff and HVAC technician, who have worked to improve ventilation in the high school gym.

The gym floor will be retested two more times before the school year ends, Lawrence said.

COVID-19 Testing

NCPS began offering voluntary weekly COVID-19 testing Friday, Jan. 28. Only NCPS teachers and staff members were tested on the first day, but the program is open to students who are registered by their parents.

The registration can be found at and must be signed, which can be done electronically. An email address that is checked regularly also must be provided.

Any student who is registered by Thursday can be tested on Friday. Parental consent may be revoked at any time during the program.

Testing will be every Friday from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at Kiptopeke Elementary School and Northampton High School and 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Occohannock Elementary School and Northampton Middle School.

Positive test results will be sent to the school clinic and texted and emailed to the student’s parent or guardian.

To ask questions or get help registering, contact nursing coordinator Brittany Annon by emailing [email protected] or calling 757-678-5151 ext. 6106.

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