COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education
August 28, 2009
TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction
Learn and Serve America (LSA) funds K-12 programs in all states through three-year formula grants to enable local schools to get involved with their communities in a tangible way by integrating community projects with classroom learning. Service-learning engages students in the educational process, using what they learn in the classroom to solve real-life problems.
Service-learning can be applied across all subjects and grade levels; it can involve a single student or group of students, a classroom, an entire school, or several schools. For further information, visit the following website: http://www.learnandserve.org/.
Through LSA funding, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) will build a statewide network of schools for the purpose of developing exemplary high-quality service-learning experiences within an integrative STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) framework. The selected STEM Service-Learning schools will concentrate their efforts on disadvantaged students in grades 6-12. The 2008 Virginia on-time graduation rate for disadvantaged students is 69.6 percent, compared with 81.3 percent for all students, a gap of almost 12 percent. Including high-quality service-learning experiences in middle and high schools is one strategy to reduce this gap.
The funding will be allocated to either public or private schools in a statewide grant competition that identifies 12 to 15 grantees that meet predetermined criteria to receive the funds. It is expected that each grant will programmatically serve 90 students per year. Over the three year duration, these grant funds will benefit over 4,000 Virginia students.
The Request for Proposals is attached to this memorandum. The deadline for submission of the Intent to Submit Form is September 18, 2009. A bidders' meeting will be conducted at the James Monroe Building in Richmond and via webinar on September 22, 2009. Completed proposals must be received by 4 p.m. on October 30, 2009. Please direct all inquiries, questions, and requests for information to Marilyn Weyer-Elder, mathematics and science grants specialist, Office of Middle and High School Instruction, by e-mail at Marilyn.Elder@doe.virginia.gov or by telephone at (804) 371-2430.