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Fairfax County schools to induct 1,200 new teachers

The Fairfax County school system will hold an induction program to welcome 1,200 new teachers for the upcoming school year.

The program, Great Beginnings: The Next Generation Summer Institute, will run Aug. 18-22. The first three days will be hosted at South County High School before teachers break off into smaller groups for the final two days.

Both teachers new to the profession and new to the Fairfax County school district will attend the induction program. Teachers receive training to prepare them for the first weeks of the upcoming school year. They also work with other teachers who share their specialty to learn tips to increase their effectiveness in the classroom.

The program then continues throughout the school year with monthly after-school seminars as well as one-on-one mentoring with more experienced faculty members.

The Fairfax County school system’s teacher retention rate after the first year on the job is 93 percent, according to statistics from the division.

Great Beginnings is sponsored by the Apple Federal Credit Union Educational Foundation, which funded the program for the past six years.

Virginia gets nearly $360K to defray exam costs

Virginia will receive $358,000 in federal funding to help cover the cost of advanced placement exams for low-income students.

The U.S. Department of Education announced Tuesday that it is awarding $28.4 million in grants to 40 states, Washington, D.C., and the Virgin Islands. Virginia’s funding comes as part of that total.

The money can be used to help pay low-income students’ test fees for Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams. Students who pass the exams could earn college credit.

This year’s grants under the Advanced Placement Test Fee Program are expected to be sufficient to pay all but $18 of the cost of each exam taken by low-income students, federal education officials said.

The Fairfax County school system already covers exam costs for students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals, but the grant reduces the cost of the exams to the school district.

The amount of aid awarded to each state is based on the estimated number of tests to be taken by low-income students. Last year’s grants helped offset costs for more than 769,000 exams in the 2013-14 school year, said Assistant Education Secretary Deb Delisle.

“These grants eliminate some of the financial roadblocks for low-income students taking Advanced Placement courses, letting them take tests with the potential of earning college credit while in high school,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement.

In the 2012-13 school year, 16,233 Fairfax County students overall took 35,759 AP tests; 3,154 students took 8,137 IB exams.