Oct. 1-14, 2004
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Meyers gives Curry $22 million
Weiss to head Hem-One division
Microsoft gives $3 million to Darden/Curry program
Nursing School establishes rural health care effort
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Making good health of world’s poor
Hereford’s half-century: Former president remembered as link between U.Va.’s past and future
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Football game Oct. 7 will limit parking
Employees show they care
Art History — Mixing it up
Press launches first electronic imprint
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Nobel lecture series begins Oct. 11
Pulitzer prize-winner to speak at Law School
Never forget: ROTC honors fallen, missing comrades

 

Microsoft gives $3 million to Darden/Curry program
Gift boosts Virginia School Turnaround Specialist Program
Gov. Mark Warner
Courtesy of the Office of the Governor of Virginia
Gov. Mark Warner discusses the Virginia School Turnaround Specialist Program for principals at a press conference in Portsmouth on Sept. 23. At the event,
Linda Zecher (center), vice president of the U.S. Public Sector Group at Microsoft, announced her company’s investment of $3 million in support of the VSTSP.
Tierney Fairchild (right) is executive director of the Darden/Curry Partnership.

Staff Report

REDMOND, Wash., and PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Gov. Mark R. Warner and Microsoft Corp. announced Sept. 23 in Portsmouth the formation of a relationship to support and expand the Virginia School Turnaround Specialist Program (VSTSP) for principals.

As part of Warner’s Education for a Lifetime initiative, the turnaround specialists program teaches school administrators proven business management skills, places them in charge of persistently low-performing schools and works with local divisions to give these new principals expanded power to help turn their schools around.

Last spring, Warner awarded a $1.4 million contract to the University’s Darden/Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education to implement VSTSP. On Sept. 23, Microsoft announced it will invest up to $3 million in the VSTSP during the next five years through its Partners in Learning initiative, for collaborative projects aimed at addressing student achievement.

Microsoft and the Darden/Curry Partnership will increase district support for the turn around specialists, provide a digital forum to share and access multimedia case studies, create a sustainable funding mechanism to ensure long-term success of the program and develop a national model for the turn around specialist concept.

“Our education leaders need the support of a community effort to overcome adversity in many of our troubled schools,” Warner said.

“Microsoft sees the value of this business world model to provide our principals with new and innovative resources. We hope to create a model and road map that can be replicated within our commonwealth and beyond.”

Announced in April 2004, VSTSP is designed to raise student achievement by focusing on the characteristics of high-performing organizations, personal leadership qualifications and the development of school turn around plans. To date, 10 principals have been selected to participate in the program and have undergone nine days of training, delivered collectively by the Darden and Curry schools. A minimum of 10 more candidates will be selected for the 2005–2006 school year.

“Gov. Warner has brought to life a vision for improving student achievement grounded in business practices but sensitive to the situations educators face,” said Linda Zecher, vice president of the U.S. Public Sector Group at Microsoft. “Microsoft’s U.S. Partners in Learning was created to supplement such visions and create a reality that serves as a role model for all states.”

The 10 specialists trained this summer will receive on-site coaching during the 2004–2005 school year, and with the expansion of the program, will now receive additional training from U. Va. in the spring. A performance-based school turn around credential will be earned upon successful completion of the full program.

“This strategic relationship between Virginia, Microsoft, and U. Va. is anchored in institutions with a track record of success,” said Tierney Fairchild, executive director of the Darden/Curry partnership.

“Microsoft’s commitment increases the opportunity for meaningful and sustainable change in support of children in our lowest performing schools.”


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