College of Education Initiatives

College of Education

by Dr. Mark L'Esperance


SUMMARY: The Commonwealth budget, recently signed by Gov. Youngkin includes funding for several initiatives in the College of Education at James Madison University.

Trio Grant

The College of Education has received $1.4 million over the next five years to help eligible high school students in the Shenandoah Valley overcome social, emotional, and academic barriers to achieve success in education beyond high school.

Led by Dr. Amanda Sawyer, JMU will receive a total of $1,437,685 for to create a JMU Upward Bound Program. The funds will support two programs, one at Harrisonburg High School in Harrisonburg City Public Schools and one at Spotswood High School in Rockingham County Public Schools, supporting a total of approximately 30-35 high school students at each school.

Lab School

Based on a bipartisan compromise, $100M has been dedicated to the state lab school initiative. A quick update of the partnership lab school includes JMU continuing to work with Rockingham County Schools Superintendent Scheikl and his leadership to develop potential lab school communities in all four division high schools. This would allow 100 students from each high school to participate (400 was the original projection). The concept projects 50+ students to attend JMU as high school juniors.

The lab school will have four preprofessional pathways for participating students. They include:

  • Social Services
    • Counseling, Social Work, Psychology
  • Education
    • Teaching, Education-related Careers
  • Health Professions
    • Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Nursing
  • Government & Public Service
    • Financial Controller, Municipal Roles, Policy & Legal Careers

The College of Education is also working on a second viable lab school option that would include an early childhood/elementary literacy focus.

Grow Your Own

The state budget has allocated 4.2M to the College of Education to implement the GYO Teaching Fellows pilot program (approximately $1.9M for 2022-2023 & $2.3m 2023-2024). Components include:

  • Recruit 25 students to seek first-year admission to the College of Education at JMU. The school divisions identified for recruitment include Harrisonburg, Rockingham, Warren, Frederick, Petersburg, and Portsmouth for the licensure areas of Special Education, Early Childhood Education, and Elementary Education. The identified teachers would receive 100% funding (tuition, room/board, and fees). A two-year commitment to teach at the identified school division is a requirement.

  • Recruit 75-100 currently employed paraprofessionals from low-wealth school divisions to gain access to the Virginia Community College / JMU College of Education pipeline to attain a Bachelor of Science in education upon completion of an associate degree at a local community college. Six community colleges will partner with the CoE. The identified paraprofessionals would receive 100% funding (tuition, fees, and books).

  • Provide high-quality academic and professional supports throughout the degree program to ensure successful program completion, including professional development, mentoring, and tutoring with a student success coordinator.

  • Provide induction support for program completers during their first three years of teaching. This aligns with the College of Educations’s current teacher induction program with the Virginia New Teacher Support Program (1000 teachers and 80 school divisions).

  • Additionally, the federal government has allocated 620K for the College of Education to recruit school divisions with currently employed teacher assistants that have already attained a Bachelor of Science in an identified area to follow a non-traditional pathway to licensure. The College of Education will co-develop three-year professional learning plans with the identified school divisions as part of the process.

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Published: Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 20, 2022

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