Governor Glenn Youngkin Signs Executive Directive to Address Teacher Shortages and Launches Bridging the Gap Initiative

By: Governor Youngkin Press

RICHMOND, VA – Governor Glenn Youngkin announced today new measures to address teacher shortages and recover learning loss. Joined by local superintendents, school board members, state legislators, students, teachers, and parents, Governor Youngkin signed Executive Directive Three: Addressing Teacher Shortages in Virginia Schools and launched the Bridging the Gap Initiative at Colonial Forge High School in Stafford County.
“I was thrilled to be at Colonial Forge High School today to launch these transformational education initiatives,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “Children in Virginia have suffered the disastrous effects of COVID-related school closures; initiatives like Bridging the Gap and my executive directive to address t teacher shortages are necessary to get and keep students on track.”
Executive Directive Three: Addressing Teacher Shortages in Virginia Schools will:
Let high-quality teachers teach, especially by expediting teaching and renewal licenses whenever possible.Build the K-12 teacher pipeline with an innovative, no-cost apprenticeship program. Target teacher recruitment and retention efforts in communities and subject areas most in need.Connect teachers with child care options and build the early childhood educator pipeline by training high school students as childcare specialists.Collect and provide accurate, timely data on teaching positions, including information on what is working for teachers and what is not, so that we can better recruit teachers, retain teachers, and address shortages when they occur.
“Parents and teachers matter,” said Governor Youngkin. “This directive is a comprehensive approach with multiple solutions to ensuring every student has a great teacher in the classroom.”
The Bridging the Gap Initiative was also launched today in partnership with 15 school divisions. It is a critical piece of our efforts to restore educational excellence to Virginia’s public schools through individualized data, Personalized Learning Plans, and training to cultivate partnerships between teachers, parents, and students. 
“We must empower students, parents and teachers with timely, actionable and tailored data, as well as the tools and training to use that data to address learning gaps together,” said Secretary of Education Aimee Rogstad Guidera. “This transformational effort uses data as a flashlight to change conversations, decisions, actions and, most importantly, results.”
Bridging the Gap will:Provide individualized student data reports so that every K-8 student, parent and teacher has all of a student’s assessment information in an understandable, actionable report. This information about student proficiency and learning loss empowers these critical stakeholders to make the best decisions to ensure every child is prepared for life.Ensure every student who is not on track has a Personalized Learning Plan that commits to a set of actions that teachers, parents, and students will take to address learning gaps. These Personalized Learning Plans will be developed and executed in partnership with teachers, parents, and students.Provide comprehensive training to teachers on how to communicate with parents and students about where a student is academically and the steps that will be taken together to get a student to grade-level proficiency.
“School divisions across the Commonwealth have stepped up and answered our call to action to provide real-time data on students’ learning loss and chart a path forward,” said Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “This pilot is all about building partnerships – between schools and parents, between schools and our office.” 
“Today’s gathering gave a great depth of voice to issues facing school divisions across Virginia – recovering learning loss and supporting teachers,” said Superintendent of Stafford County Public Schools Dr. Thomas Taylor. “I’m delighted that the Governor and other state leaders truly demonstrate a commitment to transparency, action, and recovery.”
“This directive has tremendous potential to mitigate our teacher shortage and significantly increase support for teachers, students, and administrators,” said Delegate Tara Durant. “Learning loss is an issue I care deeply about, and I’m grateful for Dr. Taylor’s leadership in bringing Stafford on board. I look forward to continuing to work with the administration in the upcoming session to bridge the gap.” 
“Licenses and apprenticeships have been persistent issues for the next generation of educators,” said Delegate Phillip Scott. “In the wake of the pandemic, our Commonwealth faces a number of education-related issues. I want to thank the Governor for his commitment to ensuring every child has access to highly qualified educators.” 
Executive Directive Three can be found here. 
More information on the Bridging the Gap Initiative, including the 15 participating pilot school divisions, can be found here: VDOE: Bridging the Gap (virginia.gov).
Secretary of Education Aimee Guidera delivers on Thursday, September 1, 2022 at the Colonial Forge High School. Official Photo by Christian Martinez, Office of Governor Glenn Youngkin.Governor Glenn Youngkin applauds teacher and students on Thursday, September 1, 2022 at the Colonial Forge High School. Official Photo by Christian Martinez, Office of Governor Glenn Youngkin.
Governor Glenn Youngkin shakes student’s hand after signing his Constitution on Thursday, September 1, 2022 at the Colonial Forge High School. Official Photo by Christian Martinez, Office of Governor Glenn Youngkin.Governor Glenn Youngkin at education roundtable on Thursday, September 1, 2022 at the Colonial Forge High School. Official Photo by Christian Martinez, Office of Governor Glenn Youngkin.

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