Some Virginia lab schools could open by next fall

As early as next fall, college partnership laboratory schools — or “lab schools” — may be open for Virginia students.

Aimee Guidera, the state’s secretary of education, laid out plans for bringing the schools to life during a meeting of the state board of education Wednesday.

Already, 39 universities across Virginia are on board, she said.

“This shows incredible interest across the commonwealth on building these schools, and people are ready to go,” Guidera said. “And they keep thinking they’ve missed the deadline, so we would love to be able to say, ‘It’s time. It’s time that you can apply for these.'”

Shortly after taking office in January, Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced the lab schools initiative, touting the partnerships between colleges and universities and local K-12 schools as innovative ways to promote hand’s-on learning in specific fields, such as STEM.

Earlier this year, the Virginia General Assembly allocated $100 million to provide startup grants to launch 25 of the lab schools across Virginia.

As part of the plan presented to the board, Guidera also discussed the department’s plans to roll out the schools equitably.

“We are serious about making sure that these schools of innovation are targeted students, who have traditionally been underserved — that the system has not served as well — and making sure that we’re doing that in every single region. And that’s critical, and this is about improving student achievement.”

During the meeting Wednesday, the state board also approved the guidelines for the grants, which fund things like renovations, classroom materials, equipment and short-term staffing.

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at, part of Government Executive Media Group.

Lauren Hamilton

Lauren Hamilton is an Associate Producer at WTOP and a graduate of the University of Maryland. She enjoys covering the intersection of arts, culture and social justice in local communities. She began as an intern with WTOP in the summer of 2021.

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