Grant Paves Way for E&H Laboratory School in Smyth County

Posted on: Monday, March 25th, 2013 by Brent Treash

Emory & Henry College has been awarded a $200,000 planning grant to create a laboratory school in Southwest Virginia in partnership with Smyth County Public Schools.

The collaboration between Emory & Henry and Smyth County Public Schools will focus on creating a school for cutting edge instruction for students from kindergarten to the fifth grade. The program will seek to employ innovative, research-based practices for teaching and learning science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics (known as a STEAM curriculum). The goal of this work is to enhance the quality of learning in school districts throughout Southwest Virginia and beyond.

The College was one of two higher education institutions to receive money from the pool, the other being the University of Virginia. Emory & Henry is the only private, liberal arts college to receive one of the six grants awarded in the last two years. According to Gov. Bob McDonnell, the applications were reviewed by “a distinguished panel of individuals from higher education, local school districts and the business community.”

"The Laboratory School would be a win-win for the college, local schools throughout the far southwest region of Virginia, and members of the greater community at large," said Dr. Janet Justice Crickmer, chair of the E&H Education Division. "Smyth County Schools is excited to partner with Emory & Henry College to create a great learning experience for students in Smyth County", said Dr. Michael Robinson, superintendent of Smyth County Public Schools.

Crickmer said that while Virginia has made significant progress in developing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum for students at the secondary level, far less attention has been given to such initiatives, especially with the addition of arts education, at the elementary level.

Dr. Rosalind Reichard, president of Emory & Henry, said, “The education program at Emory & Henry has a proud history of working with communities and school systems across the state to enhance elementary and secondary education through innovative teacher training and creative approaches to improving student performance. We dedicate ourselves to this work out of our enduring belief that quality education at all levels has the power to transform lives.”