Creative Commons,

State officials are looking to local school divisions to develop some world-class, in-the-field ideas to reform education.  Following an application process, the state will award five school superintendents with $50,000 each for grants to craft innovative plans for their districts.  Superintendents are being asked to “dream big”—and contemplate how they would run their schools with complete flexibility for two years. 

Alumnae Rally for Returning Sweet Briar Students

Mar 16, 2015
Photo: Hawes Spencer

Alumnae of Sweet Briar, whose board voted to shut down the 114-year-old women's college at the end of the summer, are brewing a fight.

On Sunday, however, they turned their attention to embracing the students.


With bunches of daisies and words of encouragement, hundreds of alumnae lined the main road into campus in a Sunday afternoon show of support for students recently told they'd have to find a new college.

"Your alumnae sisters are fighting for you," said Terry Evans, class of 1974, welcoming students back from spring break.

Was Sweet Briar's Board Rash or Reasonable?

Mar 13, 2015
Sweet Briar College

Sweet Briar College was founded in 1901 when Indiana Fletcher Williams left her entire estate, including the Sweet Briar Plantation, to found an institution in the name of her deceased daughter, Daisy. 114 years later, the school unexpectedly announced its closure – sending shockwaves through alumnae, academia, and Amherst County.  Did the board act prudently, or did it move hastily? 

Anti-Hunger Initiative in High-Poverty Schools

Mar 9, 2015

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack joined Virginia’s governor and first lady to announce an $8.8 million federal grant for an anti-hunger initiative in some of the state’s high-poverty schools.

The demonstration project will provide students in selected schools with breakfast, lunch, and after-school supper—as well as non-perishable food to take home on weekends and breaks.

A high level official in Richmond did something surprising this week.  Superintendent of Schools Dana Bedden apologized for an incident that occurred even before he took the job.  

The assembly at Huguenot High School began like a pep rally, but it quickly took on a serious tone as Superintendent Dana Bedden recalled how – in 2013 – all Hispanic students were summoned to the cafeteria.  Jonthan Villatoro was one of them. 

“In the past there had been several conflicts between the African-American students and the Hispanic students that ended in pretty bad fights.”