Youngkin Applauds Approval of Additional Lab Schools

The Virginia Board of Education has approved the establishment of Virginia’s fifth and sixth lab schools from the University of Virginia and Mountain Gateway Community College creating innovative STEM-focused programs for middle school and high school students in their area.

“These lab schools provide exciting options for children to explore STEM, computer science, and IT skills as they think about their futures,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “I’m grateful for the community support for both of these lab schools and appreciate the Board’s continued commitment to keep moving forward with valuable opportunities for Virginia’s students and communities.”

The University of Virginia’s proposed lab school will have a specialized focus on infusing STEM and computer science education including data science into its curriculum. In partnership with Charlottesville City Public Schools, UVA will embed the school in Charlottesville Middle School. Focused on increasing student engagement in science, the school will also improve the quality of the middle school experience, especially for underrepresented youth, looking to significantly shift the educational trajectory for those students most at-risk. The lab school will leverage partnerships with UVA’s School of Education and Human Development, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, as well as the School of Data Science.

”These two lab schools embody the intent of lab schools: to bring innovation to every corner of the Commonwealth while also building schools that meet the needs of specific communities. The growing number of promising lab schools are a testament to the hard work, partnership, and creativity of local school divisions, higher education institutions, employers and community partners, as well as the leadership and diligence of the Virginia Department of Education staff, the independent Lab School Standing Committee and the State Board,” said Secretary of Education Aimee Guidera.

“The Board of Education continues to be in awe of the innovative lab school proposals brought to us by so many local school divisions and higher education partners supporting such amazing educational options for students across the Commonwealth. The Board was honored to approve two very exciting lab schools today, which will provide many of our students in more rural school divisions with more educational choices to support their futures,” said Grace Turner Creasey, President of the Virginia Board of Education.

Virginia Lab Schools are designed to stimulate the development of innovative education programs for Virginia students from preschool through Grade 12. In partnership with local employers and community organizations, their academic programs focus on expanding opportunities for student with exposure to workplaces designed to highlight the important role success in academics plays in life. Lab schools offer unique and focused opportunities to help students understand with greater clarity the career pathways for life after high school graduation.

“We stand ready and excited to bring the mission of the UVA Innovation Hub, to engage all students in personally meaningful, computationally-rich and interdisciplinary learning experiences, to life at Charlottesville Middle School,” said Kim Wilkens, Director of Education and Outreach at the UVA School of Education and Human Development.

Mountain Gateway Community College’s proposed lab school will offer students an information technology focus covering areas such as cybersecurity, cloud computing and information technology support. Mountain Gateway will partner with public school divisions in Alleghany Highlands, Buena Vista City, Bath County, Botetourt County, and Rockbridge County to provide high school students with a comprehensive educational program combining a core curriculum of theoretical learning and practical skills development in the field of information technology. With an added focus of helping its students achieve in-demand industry recognized certifications, the lab school will partner with industry leaders such as Amazon and local entities such as Carillion Rockbridge Community Hospital to help provide students with invaluable practical real world experiences.

“We have created a strong partnership between Mountain Gateway Community College, our business and industry partners, and the school districts in our service area. A valuable asset for students, local businesses and our entire community, MG-TEC ensures our region has the skilled workforce needed while offering students impressive starting wages and in-demand industry credentials,” said Dr. Ben Worth, Mountain Gateway Community College’s Vice President of Academic Affairs.

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