A Commonwealth of Virginia Website
This news release is from the previous Governor's administration.
For Immediate Release: July 14, 2016
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Christina Nuckols, christina.nuckols@governor.virginia.gov | Virginia Department of Education: Charles B. Pyle, 804-371-2420, Charles.Pyle@doe.virginia.gov

Governor McAuliffe Announces Second Round of High School Innovation Planning Grants


RICHMOND – Governor McAuliffe announced today that the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) will award five additional high school innovation planning grants to divisions that have proposed bold programs aimed at providing their students with innovative approaches to learning.

VDOE will award $50,000 each to Bedford County, Hampton, Madison County, Virginia Beach and Williamsburg-James City County. In addition, four programs that received planning grants in 2015 have been awarded $50,000 grants to support implementation this fall.

The grants were the brainchild of the Standards of Learning Innovation Committee. 

“In order to build the workforce of the future, we must ensure that we are preparing all of our students to succeed in the new Virginia economy,” Governor McAuliffe said. “With this second round of high school innovation grants, we are not only taking another positive step in that direction, we are also supporting the bold ideas of our education leaders and changing high school as we know it.”

This round of competitive grants was authorized by the 2016 General Assembly in order to encourage school divisions to develop innovative programs that emphasize personalized learning, alignment with local workforce needs, and college and career readiness.

“These new funds will help build upon the momentum created by the first round of grants while informing our work to redesign high school,” said Secretary of Education Anne Holton. “When we empower our divisions to pursue their own individualized approaches and allow the educators on the ground to be creative, we pave the way for student success.”

“The grants will allow these school divisions to plan and implement new approaches to engage and motivate students and increase their readiness for postsecondary education and training,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples said. “At each of the participating high schools, students will benefit from programs that connect classroom learning and career goals, and opportunities to acquaint themselves with the expectations of the workplace.”

The proposals receiving high school innovation planning grants, by school division, are as follows:

  • Bedford County — Jefferson Forest High students will complete their first two years of high school working 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. These pathways include apprenticeships, industry credentials, dual enrollment or Advanced Placement courses, or completing a traditional high school program.

  • Hampton — Bethel High, Hampton High, Kecoughtan High and Phoebus High will present instruction within industry- and subject-themed academies with separate learning spaces within the schools for each academy. 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. The planning grant also will support research of the “simulated workforce” instructional model employed in other states. The planned innovations are intended for Standard Diploma students but will be open to all Madison County High students.

  • Virginia Beach — The program at Green Run High will combine blended learning and internships aligned with students’ needs and interests. Green Run High 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, critical thinking and authentic learning experiences. Students will establish 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 programs receiving implementation grants, by division, are as follows:

  • Chesterfield County (and Charles City County, Colonial Heights, Dinwiddie County, Goochland County, Hanover County, Henrico County, New Kent County, Powhatan County and Richmond) — The Richmond Regional School for Innovation-CodeRVA, in partnership with community colleges and Richmond-area employers, will prepare students to graduate with an associate degree, industry certification and guaranteed employment.

  • Fairfax County — A three-year, interdisciplinary program at Edison High will allow students to rotate freely between subjects and classrooms as they prepare for college and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

  • Salem — A personalized learning program at Salem High will include curriculum changes, alternative scheduling and workplace learning to prepare students for post-secondary employment.

  • Williamsburg-James City County — Curricular and structural innovations at Warhill High will promote self-directed learning projects, flexible pacing and student autonomy.