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Organizers planning a public math and science boarding high school at Fort Monroe in Hampton say that they're on track to enroll freshmen in fall 2014, and that they are forging relationships with universities and scientists.

Organizers have met with local education leaders to develop academic goals for the Virginia Science, Technology, Engineering and Applied Mathematics Academy, and have signed agreements to share people and expertise with Old Dominion University, Norfolk State University, Virginia Military Institute and Virginia Tech.

On Monday, they signed a memorandum of understanding with Jefferson Lab in Newport News, where scientists use a particle accelerator to research the atom's nucleus, according to the lab's website.

Leaders also have identified potential buildings for the school at Fort Monroe, which the Army vacated last year, and are working toward signing a memorandum of understanding with the Fort Monroe Authority.

"That's a huge step for us," said Judy Stewart, one of the Virginia STEAM founders.

Virginia STEAM would eventually board about 1,000 students from across the state and teach another 1,000 online. For four years, students would live at the school, getting an intensive math and science education for free.

The school is modeled on the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, which opened in 1980 and is funded largely by the state and partly by a foundation.

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Published on: January 1, 2013