Governor Terry McAuliffe has awarded more than $7.7 million in grants to support the development and implementation of year-round and extended year instructional programs in 66 schools in 11 school divisions.
The Extended School Year Grant Program was created by the 2013 General Assembly in response to a Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission study that found that achievement of historically underperforming students improved faster in extended programs than in schools following traditional calendars.
“Since the Extended School Year Grant Program began, the evidence has demonstrated that that year-round and other extended learning programs can make a real difference in our effort to narrow achievement gaps and ensure that all children in the commonwealth possess the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in the 21st-century global economy,” McAuliffe said. “These grants will assist school divisions as they further implement these programs and ensure that every Virginia student can get a world class education in a public school.”
For example, since A.P. Hill Elementary in Petersburg first implemented a year-round program in 2014-2015, the percentage of students demonstrating proficiency in reading has risen by 30 points, from 56 percent to 86 percent. The pass rate in mathematics at the school has climbed 33 points, from 58 percent to 91 percent. A.P. Hill Elementary students have also achieved double-digit gains in science and history.
“Too often, the summer slide experienced by students in challenged schools results in principals and teachers having to start almost at square one to hold onto gains made during the previous year,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples said. “While year-round education is not a silver bullet, the successes of A.P. Hill Elementary and other schools show that extended learning is an innovation that can improve student outcomes.”
First- and second-year start-up grants were awarded to support new and existing year-round or extended year programs in the following divisions and schools:
Extended year planning grants were awarded to the following divisions to support the development of new year-round programs:
The 2016 General Assembly authorized $7,150,000 in start-up grants of up to $300,000 per school — $400,000 for schools denied accreditation — for up to two years after the initial implementation of an extended year program. The legislature also approved $613,312 for planning grants of up to $50,000 per division. The 2017 Appropriation Act requires that in awarding the planning grants, priority be given to schools based on need, relative to state accreditation ratings.