Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane is inviting Virginia public colleges and universities to apply for grants totaling $34 million to develop resources and professional development programs for reading and mathematics teachers.
The goals of the Onward and Upward: Supporting Literacy and Mathematics grant program are aligned with the recommendations of the Virginia Department of Education’s Virginia LEARNS workgroup. The workgroup — which included teachers, instructional leaders, parents, educational partners, and VDOE staff — identified the development of high-quality, evidence-based instructional resources, materials, and professional development as priorities in addressing unfinished learning due to the pandemic.
“This grant opportunity represents a challenge and opportunity for our partners in higher education to develop resources and programs specifically for these extraordinary times and help our K-12 students and schools recover from the pandemic,” Lane said. “The need is urgent and the criteria for awarding grants reflects VDOE’s commitment to promoting and supporting what works in helping students grow academically and achieve grade-level proficiency.”
Funding for the Onward and Upward: Supporting Literacy and Mathematics grant program is from the federal American Rescue Plan Act. The act allocated $2.1 billion in pandemic relief money for Virginia public schools through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund. Ninety percent of the award — known as ESSER III to distinguish the aid from allocations under two previous federal relief measures — went directly to the commonwealth’s 132 school divisions.
All Virginia public two- and four-year institutions of higher education are eligible to apply for the grants. Private colleges and universities may participate in partnership with public institutions. The deadline for submitting applications to VDOE is January 28, 2022.
Grant recipients will be required to provide VDOE with semiannual progress reports. Additionally, VDOE staff will meet monthly with award recipients to assess progress in achieving the goals identified in their proposals.
More information about the Onward and Upward grant program — including the application — is available on the VDOE website.