Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: August 14, 2019
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alenaa Yarmosky,

Governor Northam Announces 2019 Virginia Datathon to Focus on Equity in Education

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that the 2019 Virginia Datathon will focus on addressing inequities in Virginia’s education system. The Equity in Education Datathon will take place on October 3rd and 4th at the Library of Virginia in Richmond.

“Education is the best tool we have to empower and equip all Virginia students to reach their full potential, but we know we have more work to do to address systemic disparities that exist within our educational system,” said Governor Northam. “The upcoming Virginia Datathon offers a unique opportunity to leverage technology, data, and innovation to inspire new policies that advance equitable outcomes across our Commonwealth.”

In 2014, Governor Terry McAuliffe launched the inaugural Commonwealth Datathon Challenge, which brought together state agencies to build new applications that streamline government. Since then, the annual challenge has grown into a statewide competition with diverse teams of innovators from across the Commonwealth, addressing issues from workforce innovation to the opioid and addiction crisis.

The Equity in Education Datathon is an innovative competition that will bring together multidisciplinary teams of individuals from government, higher education, private industry, and nonprofit organizations. Participants will take new and existing datasets and turn them into actionable information that will support the Commonwealth’s goal of using data and analytics to improve educational outcomes and promote equity.

“The Datathon plays an important role in enhancing STEM education by convening students, state agencies, non-profits, and the private sector to work on innovative solutions, together,” said Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. “This type of purposeful discovery, creation, and collaboration can ignite curiosity and passion for STEM careers in Virginia's students and workforce. We look forward to reviewing the final solutions and using the information teams present to enhance our efforts to reduce achievement opportunity gaps throughout the Commonwealth.”

After the Datathon launches at 8:30 a.m. on October 3rd, approximately twenty teams will spend two days working around the clock on solution development. Subject matter experts and staff from the Office of the Secretary of Education, local governments, corporations, and nonprofit organizations will collaborate with the teams as they work on their solutions. The teams will be encouraged to develop new insights and design applications that answer specific questions and address challenges that government and community stakeholders face in achieving equity in education.

Team presentations are scheduled for October 4th at 3:30 p.m. Awards will be presented to the top three teams. The event at the Library of Virginia is open to the public.

Click here for more information.

# # #