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RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today launched Virginia is for Learners, an initiative to engage students, parents, educators, and employers with the Commonwealth’s efforts to better prepare Virginia students for success in the 21st-century workforce and adapt to a changing world. The initiative includes a public information campaign and a coordinated set of future-focused strategies to accompany recent major changes the Commonwealth has made to public education.
“Over the past few years, the Commonwealth of Virginia has worked to transform the way we deliver public education, aligning our approach with the needs of a modern economy,” said Governor Northam. “The goal of this initiative is to provide Virginians with information on each of these changes, why we are making them, and what we hope those changes will achieve. Virginia is for Learners represents our commitment to do everything we can to offer every student, no matter where they live, the world-class educational experience they need to build successful lives as adults, and an opportunity to learn in ways that are relevant to their lives, their communities, and their future aspirations.”
Each of the pillars of the initiative supports the goal of modernizing curriculum, instruction, and testing to ensure that students master important content while also developing the real-world skills that are more important to employers than ever. The future of work is changing—and this initiative is designed to change the future of learning in Virginia to meet the need of students and suit the needs of modern employers.
The Virginia is for Learners initiative includes the Virginia Department of Education, the Virginia Board of Education, and partner organizations including Jobs for the Future, the Virginia Association of School Superintendents, the Virginia Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, the Virginia School Consortium for Learning, and several schools of education, including those at William & Mary and George Mason University. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation provided initial support for policy and practice activities that made the launch of this initiative possible.
The key components of Virginia is for Learners include:
“Taken together, these policy changes transform the way Virginia prepares our students for successful careers and lives after graduation,” said Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. “Virginia is for Learners is our vehicle for communicating and engaging with the public about the changes happening in their schools and promoting future reforms to build on our momentum. If we work together we can prepare every student for a successful career in the economy of the future.”
“Virginia has always led the way on thoughtful and modern innovations to connect students with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive after graduation,” stated Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane. “Virginia is for Learners is about recognizing our responsibility to adapt to a changing economy and make sure that every student has the knowledge, skills, and experience to build a successful life after graduation.”
“On behalf of the Virginia Board of Education, I am proud of the on-going work that state, local and private partners have undertaken to better ensure our education system prepares students from every corner of our state for success in the modern workforce,” said Board of Education President Daniel Gecker. “Virginia is for Learners is a strong platform to highlight the important revisions the Board made to the Standards of Accreditation that focus on continuous improvement for all students and the persistent equity work of the Board, the Department and our public schools across the Commonwealth.”
Stephanie Malia Krauss, Senior Director for Special Projects at Jobs for the Future added, “The jobs of the future require students to be lifelong learners who can pair strong content knowledge with real-world skills. Virginia is for Learners is a national model for how states can modernize their educational approach to ensure every student who earns a high school diploma is ready to thrive in a rapidly changing world. This initiative is a true collaborative effort of state and local education leaders in partnership with a number of strong national partners, all working together on behalf of Virginia students.”
Donna Colombo, President of the Virginia PTA added, “Virginia is for Learners is the culmination of years of work by public and private partners to transform how Virginia prepares students for future success. We are proud to support this important effort to inform Virginia parents and students about the changes happening in their schools and how they will lead to better outcomes for children in every corner of the Commonwealth."
For more information on the Virginia is for Learners initiative visit www.virginiaisforlearners.virginia.gov.
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