Input sought on Va.’s early childhood plan

RICHMOND — Virginia has a draft strategic plan for early childhood education.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced the completion of a statewide needs assessment and draft strategic plan for early childhood, which was produced through a $9.9 million federal grant the state received this year.

Feedback on the draft strategic plan can be sent to The deadline is Aug. 31.

Full copies of the needs assessment and draft strategic plan can be found by clicking on this story at

W&M business school getting UiPath robots

WILLIAMSBURG — The College of William & Mary has announced the Raymond A. Mason School of Business is giving automation software to 400 students this fall.

The move, thanks to New York-based software company UiPath, is valued at more than $4 million worth of Robotic Process Automation technology, the university said last week. W&M’s business school will be the first in the U.S. to give a UiPath “robot” to every student, the school said.

All incoming business school majors and minors are set to receive the software . By next academic year, 800 business students will have a UiPath robot, the university said.

Northam appoints 43 to STEM commission

RICHMOND — Gov. Ralph Northam has announced the members of a commission he created to study science, technology, engineering and math education in Virginia.

The Virginia STEM Education Commission, created last month through an executive order, has been tasked with creating a state STEM plan to “inform how we prepare students for STEM jobs of the future,” according to the text of the governor’s 36th executive order.

The commission’s deadline for the plan is July 10. To see the 43 members of the commission, go to

JTCC to offer dietary manager certificate

CHESTER — John Tyler Community College is launching a new dietary manager program to help students earn certifications needed to work in various health care fields.

The career studies certificate program, which was approved by the Association of Nutrition and Foodservice Professionals, can be completed in less than a year, the college said. Students interested in the program can register now for fall classes.

UR library staffer is ARL diversity scholar

RICHMOND — A University of Richmond library staff member has been named a diversity scholar by the Association of Research Libraries.

Lese Taylor, a research sharing specialist for UR’s Boatwright Memorial Library, will participate in the ARL’s Kaleidoscope Program, which was created to attract master of library and information science students from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups to careers in research libraries and archives.

She is one of 18 participants from across the U.S.

Armstrong graduate receives scholarship

RICHMOND — A scholarship is looking to help students who live in public housing attend college.

The inaugural Willie & Hazel Dandall Scholarship was awarded to Laura Blackwell, who is set to attend Virginia Tech. The scholarship was established by the Dandall children to honor their parents.

Blackwell graduated this year from Armstrong High School.

VCU gets grant from nuclear commission

RICHMOND — Virginia Commonwealth University has received a grant to fund scholarships to attract and retain students in the nuclear engineering program.

The grant from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is for $199,978.

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— From staff reports

Education Reporter

Justin Mattingly covers K-12 schools and higher education. A northern New York native and a Syracuse University alumnus, he's worked at the RTD since 2017. You can follow him on Twitter at @jmattingly306.

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