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Lab schools at Germanna CC, Mary Washington scheduled to open fall 2024

Rebecca Barnabi
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Contracts for lab schools at Germanna Community College and the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg have been accelerated with signatures complete and both schools scheduled to open in fall 2024.

Continuing Virginia’s role as the nation’s top leader in lab school development, the Virginia Department of Education is accelerating the momentum for educational innovation in the Commonwealth with the lab school contracts for GCC’s Future Educators Academy (FEA) and UMW’s Academy of Technology and Innovation (ATI). Both lab schools received approval from the Virginia Board of Education in November 2023.

“We are committed to giving Virginia’s students innovative options that spark their interests and expand their opportunities post-graduation,” President of the Virginia Board of Education Grace Creasey said. “These partnerships with the University of Mary Washington and Germanna Community College are mission-focused and designed to meet the unique needs of their students and local communities. We’re looking forward to both programs opening this fall.”

The Virginia Department of Education is working with 20 lab school higher education partners toward lab school openings.

“The University of Mary Washington’s Academy of Technology and Innovation will provide opportunities for students to engage in hands-on learning experiences where computer and data science are applied across content areas, providing a unique model for high school education in the region,” Rebecca Towery, Executive Director of the Academy of Technology and Innovation at UMW, said. “We are excited about this next step towards opening the doors for the first cohort of 9th graders during the 2024-2025 school year.”

Stafford County Public Schools Superintendent Thomas Taylor said the school system is honored to partner with UMW.

“ATI has a focus that has resonated with our community, and our partnership has the potential to reshape teacher training and the future of learning.  Our students and the community stand to benefit greatly from ATI,” Taylor said.

Taylor Landrie, Special Assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives at Germanna Community College, said that GCC is excited to launch FEA in the fall.

“Central Virginia is facing a critical teacher shortage and this college partnership lab school will accelerate and streamline the pathway to careers in education for motivated future teachers. FEA students will graduate and begin teaching in only two years after their high school graduation with this innovative early college approach which embeds work-based learning in local school divisions, research-based best teaching practices, and whole-student support from day one,” Landrie said.

Culpeper County Schools Superintendent Anthony Brads said that Culpeper is one of the four inaugural K-12 members of the partnership and the school system is appreciative of GCC’s “willingness to partner with us in this effort to address the teacher shortage in the near term and provide a long-term workforce development opportunity going forward. By providing a fast-tracked pathway to teacher licensure, this program is an investment in our students and our community. We look forward to our first cohort of students next school year.”

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.