State grants for year-round, extended-year school programs

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Charlottesville City Schools are getting state grants to support the development and implementation of year-round and extended-year instruction programs in some schools.

Governor Ralph Northam announced more than $7.7 million in grants for 57 schools in 11 school divisions across Virginia.

“Extended school year programs offer more engagement, more quality instruction, and more opportunities to succeed for students who require additional or individualized attention to meet the Commonwealth's expectations for student performance,” he said. “I congratulate all of these schools and divisions for their willingness to adopt alternative calendars as we work together to narrow and close achievement gaps and create equitable educational outcomes for all Virginia students.”

According to a release, the Extended School Year Grant Program was created in 2013 in response to a commission study that found the achievement of historically underperforming students improved faster in extended-year programs instead of programs in schools following traditional calendars.

Secretary of Education Atif Qarni says research has found these kinds of programs can help keep students from forgetting skills and information they learned over the summer months.

He adds disadvantaged students tend to lose more knowledge than their peers over long breaks.

The release says the 2019 Appropriation Act requires that in awarding the planning grants, priority needs to be given to schools based on need as identified through state accreditation ratings and performance on school quality indicators.

“Equity means providing the supports and services students need to be successful when they need them,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane. “This can include providing the additional instructional time and support services that are possible with an extended-year or year-round schedule. The first step is to engage families and school communities to build consensus about the potential benefits of adopting a non-traditional calendar.”

In Charlottesville, Burnley-Moran, Clark, Greenbrier, Jackson-Via, Johnson, and Venable elementary schools will split $96,709 for existing programs.

Other schools divisions getting funding for existing programs include Carroll County, Chesterfield County, Hampton, Hopewell, Newport News, Petersburg and Winchester.

Two Charlottesville schools are also getting funding to support the development of new year-round or extended-year programs.

Clark and Jackson-Via elementary schools will split $50,000 for this.

Three other school divisions are also getting funding for new programs: Grayson County, Salem and Waynesboro.

Under the 2019 law, $7.15 million in start-up and implementation grants of up to $300,000 was authorized. Certain schools that are rated as Accredited with Conditions can be eligible for up to $400,000.

The 2019 General Assembly also approved more than $613,000 for planning grants of up to $50,000 per school division or individual school for each year of the biennium.

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