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no child left behind

OverviewGuidelines2014-15 AwardsFormsStaff

Improving Teacher Quality State Grants

For the 2014-2015 school year, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia awarded eight competitive awards. The professional development grants will be used to increase the academic achievement of all students by helping Virginia schools and school districts improve teacher and principal quality and to ensure that all teachers are highly qualified in the core subjects they teach.


College of William and Mary - SURN Visible Leaders

Project Director: Dr. Jan Rozzelle
Amount: $224,957.00

Abstract:SURN Visible Leaders 2.0 impacts student learning by focusing on student engagement through instructional leadership development and increased use of high yield strategies with principals, teachers, and central office administrators. The project builds the capacity of principals (66), teacher leaders (122), and central office supervisors (32) to improve teaching and learning through collaborative classroom observations with formative feedback. Teachers focus on nonfiction literacy (grades 3-5) or college and career readiness skills (grades 6-12). Participating administrators engage teacher leaders in conducting observations to provide formative feedback in dialogue with peers. School-based leadership coaching for the 13 SCHEV-targeted SURN divisions supports the transfer of learning and implementations of interventions in high-needs schools.

Hampton University -Critical Zone Investigations through Project/Problem-Based Learning

Project Director: Dr. Dianne Q. Robinson

Abstract: Hampton University will collaborate with Portsmouth Public Schools and the Elizabeth River Project to provide thirty teachers and two mentor teachers with a year-long professional development course, Critical Zone Investigations through Project/Problem-Based Learning.  The project will consist of:  Phase-I, a 2-day residential field study at Kiptopeke Park, where the teachers will learn about the complexities of the critical zone; Phase-II, 14 (3hr) after school sessions emphasizing science content, field investigations,  use of technologies for the development of project/problem-based learning modules, and strategies to support literacy instruction in science lessons; Phase-III will consist of a 3-day capstone session at James River Park where the teachers will conduct field investigations and present their final PBL modules for review and discussion.

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Longwood University -Problem-based Interdisciplinary STEM Learning

Project Director: Dr. Manorama Talaiver
Amount: $159,750.00

Abstract: As active members of a professional learning community, 28 language arts, mathematics, science, special education, and career and technical education (CTE), and resource teachers from 11 school divisions will collaborate in a week-long professional development workshop in July 2014 and explore research based instructional strategies that facilitate the development of interdisciplinary problem-based (PBL) STEM learning lessons and activities in 2014-15. Hummingbird robotics kit and related STEM learning resources will be used in creating PBL activities.  Teachers will also participate in webinars, online dialogue, and receive classroom support. They will showcase their implementation of their lessons, reflection, video cases, and student projects in May 2015. Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium will evaluate the program impact and effectiveness through pre- and post-surveys and focus group interviews.

Lynchburg College -Expanding STEM Instructional Leadership in Central Virginia

Project Director: Ms. Paula Lichiello
Amount: $147,689.00

Abstract: Lynchburg College will partner with six school divisions from Amherst County, Appomattox County, Bedford County, Campbell County, Halifax County and Lynchburg City to expand STEM instructional leadership training for 25 second-year participants and 50 new participants who will vertically team for a series of collaborative classroom observations and post-conferencing sessions under the mentorship of four college faculty.  Graduate level seminar courses focused on math and science instructional strategies and higher level thinking leadership approaches, a one-day summer symposium, and a professional learning community will provide platforms to further engage administrators in leadership development initiatives. 

Old Dominion University Research Foundation - Building Literacy in Social Studies (BLiSS)

Project Director: Dr. Jamie Colwell
Amount: $71,566.00

Abstract: Building Literacy in Social Studies (BLiSS) is a collaborative project between Old Dominion University, Hampton City Public Schools, and Norfolk Public Schools. This project aims to improve self-efficacy among 24 elementary teachers (grades 3-5) in using informational texts in social studies and to strengthen those teachers’ content knowledge in history, economics, and geography. Teachers will also be provided literacy-based teaching strategies to improve students’ nonfiction reading, writing, and oral language skills in social studies. These teachers will participate in a series of summer workshops facilitated by disciplinary and literacy experts and sustained contact throughout the school year to improve instruction and disseminate materials and lessons developed through web-based resources, conferences, and professional development workshops and publications.

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Old Dominion University Research Foundation - Teaching and Leading a Quality Mathematics Learning Environment

Project Director: Dr. Ian Sutherland
Amount: $110,948.00

Abstract: The Teaching and Leading a Quality Mathematics Learning Environment project goals are to actively engage K-8 mathematics teachers in integrated training in mathematics content, pedagogy, and formative classroom assessment skills; and provide the requisite professional development, knowledge base, and instructional leadership skills to school leaders in order to support quality mathematics instruction. 45 K-8 teachers and school leaders in Bristol Virginia Public Schools will participate in field-based training and web-based learning activities from summer 2014 to summer 2015.

Radford University - Integration Station Expanded: Best Literacy and Science Practices

Project Director: Dr. Jennifer Jones & Dr. Katherine Hilden
Amount: $142,347.00

Abstract: Integration Station Expanded strives to bridge best practice in literacy and science instruction, creating a key initiative for STEM and literacy growth for students.  Through participation in a 3-hour graduate course and year-long coaching support focused on content area literacy and writing in the sciences, teacher participants will build knowledge and comfort levels for integrating STEM and literacy instruction in research-based ways.  The goal is to increase implementation of research-based strategies in the classroom, leading to increased student achievement in literacy and science.  Teachers will build leadership skills through mentoring activities, and will disseminate their knowledge in professional public arenas, such as through journal articles and conference presentations.

Sweet Briar College - Expanding Inquiry Teaching in STEM Across Central Virginia

Project Director: Dr. Jill Nelson Granger
Amount: $181,326.00

Abstract: Through a year-long professional development project, 60 elementary teachers and 20 principals will increase their understanding and use of inquiry approaches for STEM content instruction. Teachers will complete a graduate course, offered both in-person and online, thus increasing the numbers served and allowing comparisons of outcomes from in-person and online instruction. Principals will complete an Inquiry Institute and will work with the participating teachers in professional learning communities. The project provides both peer and administrative support as teachers implement and assess their inquiry based lesson plans. Exemplary lesson plans will be shared at

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