W-JCC high schools receive $150,000 in innovation grants

Ryan McKinnon
Contact Reporterjmckinnon@vagazette.com

All three Williamsburg-James City County high schools received $50,000 grants from the state Department of Education, according to an announcement on the DOE webpage on Thursday.

Lafayette and Jamestown both received innovative planning grants. The funds will go toward developing programs that reimagine the typical high school experience. Both schools proposed programs that will focus on individualized learning plans, real-world experience and critical thinking, according to the announcement.

Warhill received a planning grant last year, and this year the school received an implementation grant. The funds will help establish the Pathways Project, which begins with a pilot program of 100 freshmen this fall.

District officials say the Pathways Project offers a more flexible education where students get to develop their own curriculum, work in groups and focus more on workplace skills.

This is the second year the state has awarded innovative planning grants. Only five districts across the commonwealth received grants, and W-JCC was the only district in the state to receive the grant for a second year in a row.

The general assembly authorized the grants to encourage schools to create programs that challenge the status-quo of high school education and prepare students for the modern workplace.

"JHS and LHS students will establish a foundation of academic knowledge during the first two years of high school, followed by practical experiences in the community and the workplace during their junior and senior years," according to the press release.

McKinnon can be reached at 757-345-2341.

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