Governor Terry McAuliffe has awarded millions of dollars in grants to help develop and implement year-round and extended year instructional programs in schools across the state and in Newport News.
McAuliffe awarded $2.7 million in first and second-year startup grants to support new year-round or extended year programs at Carver Elementary, Epes Elementary, Hidenwood Elementary, Lee Hall Elementary and Palmer Elementary and to develop existing programs at Jenkins Elementary, Newsome Park Elementary and Sedgefield Elementary.
The grants are part of the Extended School Year Grant, which was created by the General Assembly in 2013 in response to an audit and study that found historically underperforming students improved faster in extended programs than in schools that follow traditional calendars.
“Since the Extended School Year Grant Program began, the evidence has demonstrated that that year-round and other extended learning programs can make a real difference in our effort to narrow achievement gaps and ensure that all children in the commonwealth possess the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in the 21st-century global economy,” McAuliffe said. “These grants will assist school divisions as they further implement these programs.”
Since A.P. Hill Elementary in Petersburg, Va., first began a year-round program in 2014-2015, the percentage of students showing proficiency in reading rose to 30 points, from 56 to 86 percent. The pass rate in mathematics at the school has climbed 33 points, from 58 percent to 91 percent. A.P. Hill Elementary students have also achieved double-digit gains in science and history.
The 2016 General Assembly authorized $7,150,000 in startup grants of up to $300,000 per school — $400,000 for schools denied accreditation — for up to two years after the initial implementation of an extended year program. The legislature also approved $613,312 for planning grants of up to $50,000 per division. The 2017 Appropriation Act requires that priority be given to schools based on need, relative to state accreditation ratings, when awarding the planning grants.