For Immediate Release: June 29, 2017
Contacts: Office of the Governor, Sam Coleman, Sam.Coleman@governor.virginia.gov | Virginia Department of Education, Charles B. Pyle, (804) 371-2420, Charles.Pyle@doe.virginia.gov

Governor McAuliffe Announces Third Round of High School Innovation Grants

 

RICHMOND - Governor Terry McAuliffe today awarded high school innovation grants to 10 school divisions to develop or implement programs that emphasize personalized learning, college, career and civic readiness, and alignment with local workforce needs. Five school divisions received initial planning grants, while five divisions that received planning grants in 2016 have been awarded a second-year funding to support implementation this fall.

Chesterfield County, Fairfax County, Manassas Park, Radford and Rockbridge County will each receive $50,000 high school innovation first-year planning grants. Bedford County, Hampton, Madison County, Virginia Beach and Williamsburg-James City County were awarded $50,000 second-year implementation grants.

“Preparing our students for success in the new Virginia economy means making sure they have access to innovative and bold opportunities in the classroom,” Governor McAuliffe said. “This third round of high school innovation grants will do just that, unleashing the creativity of our students, educators and schools, and building on Virginia’s role as a national leader in education.”

“These grants continue to empower local educators to collaborate and design cutting-edge, life-changing programs,” said Secretary of Education Dietra Trent. “As we work to make education relevant for the 21st century, we must continue to align scholastic programs with the needs of local businesses and provide our young people with the skills they need to be both academically and professionally successful.”

The five divisions awarded new planning grants are as follows: 

  • Chesterfield County — Monacan High and Thomas Dale High will collaborate with the county government to create opportunities for students to work with county agencies to address local issues while developing citizenship skills. The program will employ project-based learning and real-world experiences to motivate students and prepare them for the expectations of the workforce.
  • Fairfax County — J.E.B. Stuart High will create a curriculum to meet the instructional needs of English learners and students with little formal education while providing opportunities for mentoring, career exploration and internships. The instructional program will focus on literacy, numeracy and workforce readiness. 
  • Manassas Park — Manassas Park High will expand and streamline several existing programs to improve outcomes for its student population. Creative Opportunities at Manassas Park to Achieve Student Success — or COMPASS — will create customized pathways for English learners and students with little formal education, who otherwise might not acquire English and other foundational skills necessary for success after high school. 
  • Radford — Radford High will transform a traditional secondary school into an integrated program that combines core academics with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), career and technical education, and training in cybersecurity. The program will emphasize inquiry-based learning and real-world experiences to engage students and promote 21st-century skills, such as collaboration and creativity.  
  • Rockbridge County — Rockbridge County High will develop Solutions STEM Academy offering students career paths in 21st-century agriculture, energy and power, and environmental technology. The academy’s program will feature flexible scheduling and emphasize problem solving, cross-curricular and project-based learning, and teamwork. 

“You can’t prepare students for tomorrow’s jobs with yesterday’s high schools,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples said. “I congratulate these school divisions for their vision and for their willingness to embrace the challenge of redesigning the high school experience to meet the needs of today’s students.” 

The five divisions awarded $50,000 second-year grants to support implementation during the 2017-2018 school year are as follows:

  • Bedford County — Students in grades 9-10 will work in personalized learning teams while identifying routes for career exploration.  After completion of the early high school program, students will choose one of four career pathways offered in grades 11-12.
  • Hampton — All high schools will present instruction within industry-themed and subject-themed academies in separate learning spaces. The academies will provide opportunities for students to earn postsecondary credit through dual-enrollment classes, online learning and early college programs. Local businesses will offer work-based learning through job shadowing, mentorships, internships and apprenticeships.
  • Madison County — Madison County High students will pursue industry credentials and apprenticeships in preparation for journeyman and master examinations while earning associate degrees through Germanna Community College.
  • Virginia Beach — Green Run High will combine blended learning and internships aligned with students’ needs and interests. Students will have a choice of college-and-career pathways, including industry credentialing, internships with local businesses, and advanced academic programs at local colleges. 
  • Williamsburg-James City County — Jamestown High and Lafayette High students will develop individualized learning plans emphasizing communication, collaboration, problem solving and critical thinking. Students will acquire a foundation of academic knowledge during the first two years of high school, followed by practical experiences in the community and the workplace during their junior and senior years.

The high school innovation grant program was proposed by the advisory Standards of Learning Innovation Committee and approved by the 2015 General Assembly.

 

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