The Rural Math Innovation Network Initiative Gets Underway

Funded by a $2.99 million Investing in Innovation (i3) grant from the U.S. Department of Education and matching funds from the private sector, VASS, Inc. started the four-year Rural Math Innovation Network project on January 1, 2017. Pre-algebra and Algebra 1 teachers in 20 rural school divisions across Southside and Southwest Virginia will collaborate in a virtual network to create lessons that increase student motivation for mastery of math skills and concepts needed for pursuing STEM and health postsecondary technician programs and career credentials. Read more.

VASS Receives $2.99 Million Grant From USDOE For Rural Math Innovation Network

South Boston, VA. (January 30, 2017) – Virginia Advanced Study Strategies, Inc. (VASS, Inc.) is pleased to announce it has received a $2.99 million Investing in Innovation (i3) grant from the United States Department of Education. These funds will support the Rural Math Innovation Network (RMIN) for eligible rural school divisions that are in the Tobacco Commission region of Southside and Southwest Virginia. Read more here.  

VASS Receives $2.99 Million Grant From USDOE For Rural Math Innovation Network

South Boston, VA. (January 30, 2017) – Virginia Advanced Study Strategies, Inc. (VASS, Inc.) is pleased to announce it has received a $2.99 million Investing in Innovation (i3) grant from the United States Department of Education. These funds will support the Rural Math Innovation Network (RMIN) for eligible rural school divisions that are in the Tobacco Commission region of Southside and Southwest Virginia. Read more here.  

Paul Nichols Gives Keynote Speech

 

Former VASS President and current Superintendent of Mecklenburg County Schools Paul Nichols was the keynote speaker at a recent event  in South Hill, VA. Mr. Nichols said that most jobs available for the graduating student do not require a master's, doctorate or bachelor’s degree, but rather 70% require some sort of certification or skills training. He said there are good paying jobs waiting for those with the right skills, but many job seekers lack the skills and credentials to do the job. Mr. Nichols plans to implement a system in Mecklenburg County that will allow students to build portfolios that showcase their certifications and level of skills to present to prospective employers. He plans to partner with the community college, as well as businesses, to offer internships and apprenticeships so students can develop real-world experience before they graduate from high school. Read more of his message here.." Read more of his presentation here.

NATIONAL RURAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION: SUPPORT FOR RMEP INNOVATION

VASS  Interim CEO Steps Down

 

During its Board Meeting on April 7, 2016, Interim President/CEO Dorothea Shannon announced her resignation. The Board accepted her resignation and thanked her for her service and willingness to take on the task. Dr. Shannon accepted the position in January of this year giving the board time to conduct a search for a permanent replacement for Paul Nichols who left the position of President/CEO to accept a job in Mecklenburg County as the Superintendent of Schools. Dr. Shannon stated that her time as leader was a "spectacular journey."  She thanked the staff and board members for supporting her during the transition.

 

The new President/CEO was approved at the board meeting. Veronica Tate will lead VASS beginning April 11, 2016. Read her bio here.

 

Pictured from left are Dr. Dorothea Shannon, Veronica Tate, and VASS Chairman Jack Reasor.

CODE RVA

VASS DACUM services will help this group develop a curriculum to ensure that students are prepared for the many IT jobs available in the Greater Richmond region and the nation as a whole.

 

Read this article from the Richmond Times Dispatch about it here.

Rural Math Excel Partnership Advisory Committee Meets

 

On December 1, 2015, the RMEP Advisory Committee held a dinner meeting at Four Oaks Restaurant in South Boston, VA.  VASS staff updated committee members on how the project was progressing since the last meeting and heard some of the comments that have been compiled by the project evaluators. A session was held to obtain input from the committee in the following areas: a) most promising elements of the shared responsibility model; b) what elements need refining; c) sustainability; d) stakeholders conference; and e) announcing results.

 

For information on the RMEP project, contact VASS staff at 434-575-0692. 

Virginia Manufacturing Skills Institute

NEWPORT NEWS, VA - The Manufacturing Skills Institute (MSI), the workforce development affiliate of the Virginia Manufacturers Association, announced that nine community colleges are designated as authorized MSI Assessment Centers: Blue Ridge Community College, Community College Workforce Alliance (John Tyler Community College and J. Sargent Reynolds Community College), Mountain Empire Community College, Southside Virginia Community College, Tidewater Community College, Thomas Nelson Community College, Virginia Highlands Community College and Virginia Western Community College. The new MSI Assessment Centers will expand credentialing opportunities for Virginians to demonstrate skills to close the workforce skills gap. The initial focus of the partnership will be to expand the MSI Manufacturing Technician 1 (MT1) certificate program as a baseline credential for Virginia's 6,000 manufacturers as well as integrating it into degree pathways and dual enrollment opportunities so that the emerging workforce has the 12 critical technical skills that are fundamental to occupations in advanced technology industries.  Read more. 

MARi Selected as Key Technology Partner

 

(VASS), a 501c(3) nonprofit organization, and six eligible rural Local Education Agencies (LEA) in Virginia have formed the Rural Math Excel Partnership to address the U.S. Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation Fund. VASS has been collaborating with one lead math teacher from each school division for the past 15 months to develop instructional materials and training activities pertaining to the ways math is used in technician-level occupations. After interviewing 38 different individuals currently working in high demand jobs such as electrician, automotive technician, occupational therapy assistant, forestry technician, EMT, firefighter, etc., the math development team has created a resource guide for teachers who teach the foundational math courses including Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, and Algebra, Functions, and Data Analysis (AFDA). 

 

“The mission of VASS is to bridge the gap between education and career.  MARi is a similar concept to LinkedIn but with legitimate proof of what people can do,” said Paul Nichols, President/CEO of Virginia Advanced Study Strategies. “We are thrilled to offer students the ability to track their own progress and aptitude levels against the skills business are looking for. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.”

 

Families, teachers, and community-based organizations can work collectively to support a student’s pursuit of excellence in foundational math courses. The goal of the RMEP project is to develop a sense of shared responsibility among families, teachers, and communities in rural areas for student success in and preparation for advanced high school and postsecondary study. VASS works with over 75 schools and is implementing the RMEP project model in 14 schools in the six school divisions.

“The VASS partnership solidifies the need for MARi in every step of an individual’s journey from school to career.  It gives a concise and objective answer to the age-old question, “Why do I need math and when will I ever use it again?” states John Carney, president & CEO of Carney Labs. "In the initial roll out, MARi gives over 5,000 students in economically repressed areas an online lifelong learning digital portfolio that will assist teachers, counselors and future employers in creating an optimal future.”

 

About MARI

MARi is fundamentally changing how knowledge and skills are acquired and creates actionable intelligence.  A “personal learning GPS”, MARi learns precisely the individual’s academic and career skills and the fastest personalized path to achieve desired destinations.  MARi addresses both the business and consumer aspects of applications, data and analytics, intelligently storing 35,000+ attributes per individual and connects to 2,600+ math learning applications.  Similar to online finance and healthcare profiles, the personal learning platform securely brokers personal attributes for the individual’s benefit. MARi is based on 10 years of R&D – backed by a team of data scientists, educators and entrepreneurs. For more information visit https://www.mari.com/.

 

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