Virginia Ed Strategies receives $10.8M grant for STEM, computer science teachers
The five-year effort is funded through a $10.8 million Education Innovation and Research grant from the U.S. Department of Education. (Credit: WSET)

Governor Ralph Northam and Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane announced Wednesday that Virginia Ed Strategies will revive a grant to work with the Dept. of Education on a program to increase teacher effectiveness and improve in-person, remote and hybrid instruction in science, mathematics and computer science.

The five-year effort is funded through a $10.8 million Education Innovation and Research grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The grant and project was announced Wednesday morning during a news conference at the Mecklenburg County School Board office in Boydton by Northam and Lane.

Working in partnership, VDOE and Virginia Ed Strategies will create and implement the Professional Learning by Choice Community — or CHOICE — a project to provide high-quality, teacher-directed professional development opportunities and experiences for up to 2,100 middle and high school science, mathematics, and computer science teachers.

“Of the 138 proposals submitted nationwide during the last fiscal year, the U.S. Department of Education only awarded 20 grants,” said Northam. “I am proud that Virginia Ed Strategies brought one of these grants home to Virginia to support students and teachers at a time when they need it most. The CHOICE project will equip educators in our rural school divisions with increased capacity for teaching STEM disciplines in a variety of learning environments and better prepare young Virginians to thrive in a rapidly changing, technologically-advanced, global society.”

The grant will also support:

  • Follow-up instructional coaching
  • Peer-to-peer collaboration and networking
  • Administrator support to build a sustainable program to increase teacher effectiveness

CHOICE will begin during the 2021-22 school year with a pilot program involving approximately 100 teachers selected by Virginia Ed Strategies. 

The initiative will expand over the course of the five-year grant to include 2,100 teachers.

“By providing teachers with this opportunity to increase their content knowledge and improve their effectiveness, this initiative will make a difference in the lives of tens of thousands of Virginia students,” Lane said. “And we will create a platform that can be expanded and impact teaching and learning statewide. I congratulate Virginia Ed Strategies for its leadership and vision in pursuing this opportunity to improve teaching and learning in the commonwealth.”

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