newsuva among 13 virginia colleges awarded grants for innovative lab schools

UVA among 13 Virginia colleges awarded grants for innovative lab schools


Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced 13 grants today to support the development of innovative lab schools in the Commonwealth.

“Restoring excellence in the Commonwealth’s education system has been a top priority of this administration since Day One,” Youngkin said. “By fostering partnerships between our top ranked education institutions and Virginia’s most critical employers, we are preparing our young people to graduate workforce or college ready.”

A Lab School is a public, nonsectarian, nonreligious school established by a public institution of higher education, public higher education center, institute, authority or other eligible institution of higher education. They are designed to stimulate the development of innovative education programs for preschool through grade 12 students.

“Students in the Commonwealth deserve the opportunity to be immersed in an innovative educational experience that provides both exposure and experience in the world beyond the school walls which prepares them for academic and lifelong success,” Secretary of Education Aimee Guidera said. “I am thrilled to see so many rich partnerships between higher education, K-12 and the private sector that reimagine and start to transform the one-size-fits-all system.”

The Department of Education is reviewing an additional three planning grant applications and two lab school launch applications. The General Assembly awarded $100 million from the Department of Education last year to support the Virginia College Partnership Laboratory School program.

Funds will be distributed as following:

  • $5 million for planning grants of up to $200,000 to support design of new lab schools;
  • $20 million for initial start-up grants of up to $1 million to make one-time purchases necessary to launch a lab school; and
  • $75 million for per-pupil operating funds to support ongoing expenses for operation and maintenance of a lab school.

Planning grants will be awarded to:

University of Mary Washington for a computer and data science high school focused on preparing students for college, career opportunities, and the teaching profession. UMW is considering an extended school year, work-based learning opportunities and innovative instructional approaches.

Mountain Gateway Community College proposes a high school IT Academy focused on cybersecurity, cloud community and IT technical support. Students will be able to earn credentials in various coding languages, including Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certified Cloud Practitioner.

George Mason University’s Accelerated College Pathways Academy will focus on IT, expand Mason’s tech talent degree programs and have students graduate with an associate’s degree along with a high school diploma.

Old Dominion University proposes a Maritime and Coastal Innovation Collaboratory, a STEM/CTE high school focused on the maritime industry. One pathway will include a strong focus on career and technical education and prepare students for careers immediately after graduating from high school. A second pathway will focus on preparing students for college programs designed to produce graduates ready for STEM careers in the maritime field.

Virginia Commonwealth University proposes to combine their Teacher Residency program with CodeRVA High School to develop a workforce of teachers that are able to provide computer science-focused education to their future students.

Eastern Shore Community College’s The Aerospace Academy Lab School of Eastern Shore, a Pre-K through 12th grade STEM school will focus on increasing awareness of STEM careers, specifically in the aerospace industry. High school students will have increased dual enrollment opportunities.

Germanna Community College proposes The Piedmont Regional Pathway to Teaching (PRPT), a Pre-K through 12th grade school meant to streamline the educational and licensure process for future teachers and provide students with rigorous, hands-on instruction in schools and a route to completion and placement in as little as two years after high school graduation.

Emory and Henry College’s Southwest Virginia Healthcare Excellence Academy Laboratory School, will serve as a high school career academy for 10th through 12th graders and as a “pipeline” for preparing future healthcare professionals to meet the workforce shortages in Southwest Virginia.

UVA proposes a 7th and 8th grade STEM+CS lab school focused on developing a community of practice around education that incorporates interdisciplinary, project-based, computing-rich learning experiences; developing technical skills for future workforce success by solving real-world and community-based problems with computational tools; and engaging students by incorporating their voices and choices throughout the learning process.

University of Lynchburg proposes a K through 5th school focused on early literacy instruction and the science of reading.

Virginia Union University’s integrated STEAM lab school will be for at-risk 6th through 8th graders with a graduated five-year plan to add a secondary grade level (9th through 12th) each subsequent year after launching with a goal of dual enrollment for academically ready students.

Norfolk State University proposes a reading for STEAM interdisciplinary, gifted program to shape early literacy skills of students in pre-school through 2nd grade with regular in-service training for teachers in evidence-based literacy instruction.

Old Dominion University-Chesapeake proposes project-based learning activities and other experiential learning practices to promote the development of computational thinking, problem-solving, critical thinking abilities, and other skills required for success in computer science coursework. The curriculum will be designed to prepare students for three tracks in high school: a career track, an IB track and a dual enrollment track.

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.