Key Initiatives

  • The future of learning is changing From supporting the growth and development of early learners to training PreK-12 students to go deeper, making student success our highest standard is crucial to ensuring every student is ready to thrive after graduation. In addition to incorporating The Profile of a Virginia Graduate into graduation requirements, the following key initiatives have been undertaken to support students throughout their school years and educate them on the value of a high school diploma and planning an educational path to success.

  • A Stronger Focus on Deeper Learning

    Students in every grade are experiencing an approach to instruction that deepens the focus on key skills for success in a modern world – critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, collaboration and citizenship skills. This approach ensure students develop the content knowledge and the skills they need to succeed after graduation. 

    An Increased Emphasis on Early Childhood Education

    The Virginia Department of Education helps prepare all children to become lifelong learners, which is critical in the modern economy, and recognizes the need to build that foundation in a child’s earliest years. The Commonwealth supports birth to five programming, including the Virginia Preschool Initiative and Early Childhood Special Education. Virginia is for Learners promotes key classroom practices, such as using of high-quality curriculum and assessment, supporting positive teacher-child interactions and ongoing family engagement. A goal of this initiative is to ensure every student enters kindergarten ready to learn and prepare for a successful life after graduation.

    Modernizing the Virginia Standards of Learning

    Over the past several years Virginia has reduced the number of high-stakes test. The Commonwealth is also updating testing to better track not only what a student knows, but how ready they are to apply their knowledge and skills in the real world. Parents will begin to see these new testing approaches—such as performance assessments—in their kids’ schools as students are asked to demonstrate their true understanding of concepts through short essays, projects and other vehicles. 

    New High School Graduation Requirements and Career Pathways

    Virginia high school graduation requirements have been revised to incorporate the “Profile of a Virginia Graduate,” which ensures graduates have the knowledge, skills, and experiences identified by employers and educators as most critical for life after high school. For the first time, all Virginia graduates will leave high school with life changing work-based learning experiences that put them on the path for career and economic advancement. This Profile went into effect for this year’s freshman class.

  • Maximizing the Potential of All Students

    Education is our most effective tool to reduce poverty, address racism, and sustain economic advancement for all Virginians. The Commonwealth is committed to ensuring that students and families in Virginia, regardless of their race, economic status, or the languages they speak at home, feel welcomed in their schools.  The Virginia Department of Education will continue to focus on the changing needs of its diverse student population, recognizing that significant achievement gaps currently exist.  Our commitment is to ensure that the Commonwealth’s public education system is positioned to achieve equitable academic outcomes for all students.

    Preparing EVERY Student to Succeed   
    New Standards of Accreditation for Virginia Schools

    Standards of Accreditation for school performance place new emphasis on cultivating real-world skills, eliminating achievement gaps and incentivizing continuous school quality improvement. Virginia’s new accreditation system measures what matters, gives credit for student growth, and focuses on equity outcomes. These new standards use the latest research and technology to advance Virginia’s position as a national leader in school accountability. The Virginia Department of Education remains focused on excellence and accountability while ensuring that Virginia is a place where every student is has the opportunity to succeed.