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Mountain Gateway, UVA Lab Schools Move Forward

Two Lab School applications now set for Virginia Board of Education review

Post Date:03/08/2024 12:45 PM

For Immediate Release: March 8, 2024

RICHMOND — The Virginia Board of Education College Partnership Laboratory Schools Standing Committee has approved lab school applications from Mountain Gateway Community College and the University of Virginia.  Making available unique opportunities for students in areas such as cybersecurity and computer and data science, both lab schools are expected to be considered for approval by the Virginia Board of Education at their March meeting.

“Lab Schools play an important role in bringing unique educational options to students, and these two proposals show great promise in helping enhance students’ futures in science and technology,” said Superintendent Lisa Coons. “As Lab School partnerships between school divisions and higher education continue to expand across the Commonwealth, these two new lab schools are excellent additions to a growing portfolio of educational opportunities.”

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.

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.  UVA will partner with Charlottesville City Public Schools, and the school will be embedded in Charlottesville Middle School. Designed to increase 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.

If approved by the Virginia Board of Education, these two proposals would be the Commonwealth’s fifth and sixth lab schools. Lab Schools are designed to stimulate the development of innovative education programs for Virginia students from preschool through Grade 12 students. With academic programs focused on expanding opportunities for student exposure to workplaces where students will gain a better understanding of 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.

The Virginia Board of Education is scheduled to meet next on March 27 & 28.


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