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District to receive grant funding

Watervliet City Schools part of consortium that wins $1.2 million to offer virtual classes

 A consortium of Capital Region BOCES and seven area school districts, including Watervliet, have won a $1.2 million grant from the New York State Education Department to develop virtual Advanced Placement courses for high school students.

Other districts in the Capital Region Virtual AP Consortium include: Cobleskill-Richmondville Central School District, Cohoes City School District, Duanesburg Central School District, Mohonasen Central School District, Schoharie Central School District, and Sharon Springs Central School District. Capital Region BOCES’ Northeastern Regional Information Center and Educational Support Services staff are serving as leads for the program.

The 18-month “Virtual Advanced Placement” (VAP) grant will fund the development of four blended virtual Advanced Placement (AP) courses, which will be delivered to students in all the districts through a mix of online and face-to-face teaching. The program will also increase the number of low-income students taking AP classes, which could result in those students earning college credit in high school.

The grant was one of only 17 awarded state-wide, and one of only nine consortiums across the state to receive funding. The grant was written by Capital Region BOCES’ Grants & Development Service.

This grant award is great news for our students and our district. It will give us the ability to offer additional higher-level courses for students that will increase their opportunities to earn college credits while still in high school, said Superintendent Dr. Lori Caplan. “At the same time, this funding is important for a district like ours because it will help provide new technology to support student learning, which we could not afford to pay for through our regular budget given the difficult fiscal realities our district is facing.”

In a press release announcing the awards, New York State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. said “VAP will open the door to virtual classrooms that will let students take courses on their own schedule and learn at their own pace. We want every student to be ready for college and careers, not just those who live in districts that can afford to offer AP classes.”

The grant awarded to the Capital Region Virtual AP Consortium will fund:

bullet graphicExtensive professional development for teams of teachers and administrators on creating virtual courses.

bullet graphicAP testing fees for students who are low-income.

bullet graphicInteractive video systems (including cameras, projection displays and audio equipment) for the seven school districts.

bullet graphicTablets (with data plans where necessary) for all students taking the new courses.