Schools in Amherst, Montgomery, and Franklin counties will receive grant money for innovative programs


(Photo Courtesy: Virginia Department of Education- VDOE Facebook page)

(WFXR) — Grant money is helping to develop and implement innovative programs for 11 school divisions across the Commonwealth, including Amherst County, Montgomery County, and Franklin County public schools.

The grant money was announced on Thursday, Sept. 16 by the Superintendent of Public Instruction. This money will help prepare students for careers and postsecondary education. Out of the 11 divisions, seven will receive money for planning and four will get money to support implementation.

“These grants will help ensure that the vital work of innovation in our public schools continues despite the disruptions caused by COVID-19,” Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane said. “These innovations are aligned with the Virginia Department of Education’s vision of maximizing the potential of all students and equipping young people with the skills needed to succeed and graduate college, career, and life-ready.”

Some southwest and central schools are on the list to receive grant money. Amherst County, Charlottesville, Cumberland County, Frederick County, Newport News, Norfolk, and Richmond will get $42,850 for innovation planning.

  • Amherst County will establish learning environments that will give students a chance to prepare for real-life challenges. Curriculum and instruction will be adjusted to include the 5 C’s (critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration, communication, and citizenship).
  • Charlottesville’s curriculum will emphasize engagement, mastery, change, efficacy, and entrepreneurship.
  • Cumberland County will create an innovative program that will incorporate the 5 C’s at all three county schools. High school students will participate in work-based learning opportunities to explore career pathways.
  • Frederick County will implement problem-based learning using a model grounded in empathy. Faculty and staff at an elementary and middle school will observe real-world experiences through partnerships with local, state, and national businesses and industry organizations.
  • Newport News will redesign its instruction in art, music, physical education, and library to help emphasize the five C’s, project-based learning, and career exploration.
  • Norfolk is developing an online academy to improve its science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics (STEAM). These lessons will help promote student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking.
  • Richmond plans to create a dual language immersion program by enrolling both native Spanish and English speakers.

Second-year innovation implementation grants of $50,000 will be given to Montgomery County, Franklin County, York County, and Middlesex County.

  • In Montgomery County, four high schools will implement the Profile of a Virginia Graduate, which will use innovative information technology courses and career pathways. Educators and students will earn IT micro-credentials through teacher externships and student internships.
  • Franklin County will use a personalized, competency-based education program for students. This will help improve student engagement and equip them with employable skills in communication, collaboration, and critical thinking. Henry Elementary and Ferrum Elementary will be the pilot schools for moving students to personalized, competency-based education.
  • York County plans to expand its entrepreneurship program to its elementary grades. This will allow students to become entrepreneurs and develop skills that can be used across the commonwealth’s 17 career and technical education career clusters.
  • Middlesex County plans to offer more courses that will include more personalized learning experiences for secondary students through virtual and hands-on course work. This will be limited to small groups of students enrolled in specific courses. Students will also have more opportunities for externships and internships, giving them a chance to broaden their post-secondary goals.

The Virginnia Department of Education approved up to $500,000 in competivie grants for the 2021-2022 school year for divisions to plan innovations or to implement previously approved plans.

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