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Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow announces grants for 44 schools

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Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow announces grants for 44 schools.

Balow announced Wednesday that the Virginia Department of Education is awarding more than $7.7 million in state grants to support the development and implementation of year-round and extended-year instructional programs in 44 schools in five school divisions, according to Balow.

“Extended-year and year-round school programs provide consistent and structured learning environments for our students to succeed,” Balow said. “Extending the school year or adopting a year-round calendar are research-backed strategies to put students on the road to recovering learning lost due to the extended closure of schools during the pandemic, as documented by our Standards of Learning assessments and the recently released data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress.”

The General Assembly created the Extended School Year Grant Program in 2013 in response to a Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission study that found that achievement of historically underperforming students improved faster in extended-year programs than in schools following traditional calendars, Balow said.

Balow said the department awarded start-up and implementation grants to support new and existing year-round or extended-year programs in the following divisions and schools:

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Hampton — $1.5 million for existing programs at Bethel High, Hampton High, Kecoughtan High, and Phoebus High and new programs at Andrews Pre K-8, Eaton Middle, Jones Middle, Kilgore Gifted Center, Lindsay Middle, Phenix Middle, Syms Middle, and Tarrant Middle.

Newport News — $4,984,092 for existing programs at Carver Elementary, McIntosh Elementary, Hidenwood Elementary, Palmer Elementary, Newsome Park Elementary, Sedgefield Elementary, Jenkins Elementary, Greenwood Elementary, Saunders Elementary, Johnson Elementary, Sanford Elementary, Stoney Run Elementary, Gildersleeve Middle, Fitzgerald Middle, Denbigh High, Heritage High, Warwick High, and Discovery STEM Academy.

Roanoke — $929,220 for existing programs at Hurt Park Elementary, Breckinridge Middle, Lincoln Terrace Elementary, Addison Middle, Roanoke Academy for Mathematics and Science Elementary, Westside Elementary, Fairview Elementary, Fallon Park Elementary, and Round Hill Elementary.

Salem — $300,000 for existing programs at Lewis Middle, East Salem Elementary, South Salem Elementary, and West Salem Elementary.

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VDOE awarded a planning grant of $50,000 to Waynesboro to support the development of a new year-round or extended-year program at Wenonah Elementary, according to Balow.

Balow said that the 2022 Appropriation Act requires that in awarding the planning grants, priority be given to schools based on need as identified through state accreditation ratings and performance on school quality indicators.

The act authorized $7.15 million in start-up and implementation grants of up to $300,000, with certain schools rated as Accredited with Conditions eligible for up to $400,000 for each year of the biennium. The legislature also approved $613,312 for planning grants of up to $50,000 per school division for each year, with priority given to schools rated as Accredited with Conditions, according to Balow.

“In awarding these grants, I echo Governor Glenn Youngkin’s call for school divisions to use their nearly $2 billion in still-unspent federal pandemic relief funds to expand learning opportunities for students by extending the school day or year, or by providing intensive tutoring for students who are the farthest behind,” Balow said. “The need is urgent and our students can’t wait.”

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