Governor Bob McDonnell today announced the winners of the 2012 Virginia College Partnership Laboratory School Application Planning Grants. Eligible applicants were public institutions of higher education that operate a teacher education program approved by the Virginia Board of Education. After a long review process, the following institutions were awarded grants to help establish a college partnership laboratory school:
Emory & Henry College ($200,000)
University of Virginia ($300,000)
Administered by the Office of the Secretary of Education, the planning grants for planning partnership laboratory schools are designed to enhance teacher education and training as part of the Governor's "Opportunity to Learn" agenda to improve K-12 education and will provide more flexibility, innovation and autonomy outside the traditional public school system. In addition, the grants help expand educational options for Virginia students.
All grant awards were made to public institutions pursuant to existing statute. However, as part of "Opportunity to Learn" the law was amended to promote greater flexibility and provide more choice for students by allowing both public and private institutions of higher education to establish a college partnership laboratory school in partnership with one or more local school boards.
"Institutions of higher education are partnering with local school divisions to drive reform at the local level, and now these grant winners can empower their school leaders to pursue innovative ideas where they have the greatest impact: in the classroom," said Governor McDonnell. "The College and University Partnership Laboratory School planning grantees have shown tremendous leadership though developing plans that will transform the learning environment and enable students to receive a personalized, world-class education."
Secretary of Education Laura Fornash remarked, "The Laboratory School Planning Grants program is designed to help our grantees plan methodically. It allows them to create more than buildings but genuinely dynamic engines of education and change. These grants invest in the vision of compelling projects that will ultimately benefit not just the students that will attend the school, but the entire Commonwealth as well."
"The education program at Emory & Henry has a proud history of working with communities and school systems across that state to enhance elementary and secondary education through innovative teacher training and creative approaches to improving student performance," to Dr. Rosalind Reichard, president of Emory & Henry said. "We dedicate ourselves to this work out of our enduring belief that quality education at all levels has the power to transform lives."
A distinguished panel of individuals from higher education, local school districts and the business community reviewed each of the applications. Decisions about award amounts took into consideration a number of factors including the amount of available funds, the number of applications recommended for funding, and the amounts requested in the recommended applications.
College partnership laboratory schools are public schools established by contract between the governing board of a college partnership laboratory school and the Board of Education. Legislation proposed by Governor McDonnell and approved by the 2010 General Assembly (HB 1389 and SB 736) and the 2012 General Assembly (HB 577) allows any public or private institution of higher education in the Commonwealth with an approved teacher-preparation program to establish a college partnership laboratory school.
For more information about the grants, visit: http://www.education.virginia.gov/.