In Fall 2018, the VA Department of Education announced a competitive opportunity for school divisions across the state to participate in the Virginia is for Learners Innovation Network, an initiative designed to promote innovation and deeper learning and to help school divisions align instruction and assessment with the recently adopted Profile of a Virginia Graduate. Deciding that their efforts would best be accomplished by applying as a team, Poquoson, West Point, and Middlesex County Schools joined forces and invited William & Mary’s SURN (School-University Research Network) to partner with them. SURN, which collaborates with member school divisions to elevate their work by connecting university resources with the K-12 field of practice, agreed that this was a perfect opportunity to work with three smaller divisions in their efforts to innovate and transform their schools for the future.
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Selected as one of 26 groups in the Innovation Network’s inaugural year, the team began their collaboration at the initiative’s convening meeting, held March 11-12, 2019 at the Career and Technical Center in Chesterfield County Public Schools. The three divisions, with the help and resources offered by SURN, will concentrate their efforts on providing students with real-world work experiences in order to promote workplace skills and career exploration, two areas of focus in the Profile of a Virginia Graduate. SURN looks forward to seeing how this partnership opportunity will open doors not only for the three participating school divisions but also more broadly for all of its member divisions.