Virginia governor awards innovation grants to 10 high school divisions

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Ten school divisions around the Commonwealth of Virginia each have received $50,000 grants awarded by Gov. Ralph Northam to develop and implement innovative programs that emphasize personalized learning and performance assessments that measure student achievements.

Northam, a Democrat, follows in the footsteps of his predecessor, Terry McAuliffe, in promoting the role of technology-based education and integration into schools around the state. McAuliffe made cybersecurity a priority in Virginia, and oversaw such programs as schools’ participation in the “NSA Day of Cyber” and the establishment of a cloud-based cyber range for state universities.

The high school innovation grant program, initially approved by the Virginia general assembly in 2015, awarded planning grants for the 2018-19 school year to five divisions:

  • Next Generation Career Academies at four high schools in Chesterfield County will incorporate personalized learning, performance-based assessment, project-based learning and workplace experiences;
  • The Ticket 2 Tomorrow program in Cumberland County will offer personalized career exploration, on- and off-campus, incorporate career-based credit, and set up portable credentials and digital badge programs;
  • Blackburg High School’s Bruin Academy in Montgomery County will provide work-based learning, focusing on personalized instruction and project-based interdisciplinary courses;
  • The city of Staunton will use the grant to support development of three “college/career corridors,” a performing arts center and a multi-level media center at Robert E. Lee High School; and
  • The town of West Point will use the grant for division-wide K-12 reforms, including redesign of curricula to incorporate technology and workplace skills.

Five divisions received second-year grants to support implementation during the 2018-19 school year:

  • Monacan and Thomas Dale high schools in Chesterfield County will continue providing students the opportunity to work with county agencies to address local issues and develop citizenship skills;
  • J.E.B. Stuart High School in Fairfax County will support an instructional program focusing on literacy, numeracy and workforce readiness for English language learners with little formal education;
  • Manassas Park High School in Manassas Park with expand and streamline existing programs for a student population that includes increasing numbers of English language learners and students with little formal education;
  • Radford High School in the city of Radford will continue its three-year transformation from traditional to an integrated program combining core academics with STEM, technical, and cybersecurity education; and
  • Rockbridge County High School will implement its Solutions STEM Academy, providing students career paths in 21st century agriculture, energy, and power and environmental technology.

Reach the reporter at pwaitster@gmail.com and follow her on Twitter @edscoop_news .

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