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State Education Department launches Virtual Learning Initiative Round II

ALBANY - Three local groups of school districts (headed by Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES, Questar III BOCES and Jefferson Lewis BOCES) have been awarded grants under New York State’s virtual learning initiative, the Virtual Advanced Placement (VAP) Program, Round II.  The grants, funded through New York’s federal Race to the Top funds, will enable students and teachers statewide to participate in Advanced Placement (AP) and pre-AP classes and exams.  Three VAP Program grants worth a total of $2,412,095 will be distributed to more than 40 schools to develop online and blended courses.

"New York is a national leader in the use of technology to provide high quality, college level courses,” State Education Commissioner John King, Jr. said.  “Every student deserves to be prepared for college and careers, not just those who live in districts that can afford to offer AP classes. These 10-month grants will also provide professional development for teachers.  A good percentage of New York students take AP classes and tests.  But low-income students don’t always get the chance to take AP courses.  Those courses can be crucial for admission to and success in college.”

There has been a steady increase in the number of New York public school students who benefit from the AP experience over the last 10 years.  But King said there were still many districts that could not afford to offer AP courses, and the lack of resources and declining enrollment are sometimes forcing districts to disband their AP programs.

In November, 2012, in Round I of the VAP Program, $17.3 million was awarded to 17 local districts or consortia of districts.  Since the January, 2013 launch, VAP Round I has begun the process of providing 15,000 students in more than 175 districts access to potentially 100 online and blended AP courses in more than 30 subjects – courses to which these students might not ordinarily have access.

The grants also can be used for other activities including: the purchase of needed technology resources to register and track student enrollment and performance on AP courses; computers for students to access the courses; and support for the cost of AP exams taken at the end of the course.

Final approval of the grants is subject to the review and approval of the Office of the State Comptroller.

Attached is a list of the districts and consortia receiving VAP Round II awards.

For a list of VAP Round I awards, please visit www.p12.nysed.gov/technology/Online/VAP.html.

For more information on the VAP Program and other State Education Department programs funded through Race to the Top, please visit http://usny.nysed.gov/rttt/rfp/.