The education nonprofit Virginia Ed Strategies announced Wednesday that it has secured a $10.8 million federal grant to expand teacher training in the commonwealth.
“These funds will support the development of the Professional Learning by Choice community, or ‘Choice’ as we’re calling it now,” said Jennifer Stevens, the group’s president and CEO. “Over the next five years, Choice will allow for teacher-directed professional development opportunities for at least 2,100 secondary science, mathematics and computer science teachers across the commonwealth — the majority of whom will be from rural school divisions.”
The announcement was made at a press conference hosted by Mecklenburg County Public Schools.
Ms. Stevens said some of the funds will be immediately used to develop and deploy an online tool for teachers to determine where they need to focus for professional development and a customized online dashboard for training. Time in training will count for teachers’ license renewals.
Gov. Ralph Northam praised the new program and said it highlighted the importance of getting students back into the classroom after a tough year of trying to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic.
He also reiterated his goal of trying to get educators a pay raise this year, a plan he highlighted during his State of the Commonwealth address last month.
“Science, technology, engineering, the arts, math, and healthcare — those are where the jobs of the 21st century are, so things like cybersecurity and unmanned aerial systems and computer technology, data collection, data analysis. That’s what we need to train our children for if we’re going to keep our economy vibrant and strong.”