RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell today announced the winners of the 2012 Virginia College/University 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:
- George Mason University ($145,500)
- James Madison University ($228,000)
- Longwood University ($86,000)
- Virginia State University ($140,000)
Administered by the Office of the Secretary of Education, the planning grants 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 will serve ultimately to 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.
“The proposed college laboratory schools are examples for the Commonwealth of what is possible when our institutions of higher learning and local school districts partner with people and organizations in the public, private and philanthropic sectors to initiate and develop innovative academic programs, ” Governor McDonnell said. “The planning grants aren’t just about money. They are about collaboration among all stakeholders, building a shared agenda and challenging ourselves to improve the way our students learn.”
Secretary of Education Laura Fornash remarked, “Each institution that applied for a planning grant represents a partnership among engaged stakeholders that is charting a path for education reform in Virginia. I salute all of the applicants for their hard work.”
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.