RICHMOND, Va. -

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has announced a grant totaling $7.6 million to help Virginia turn around some of its lowest-achieving schools.

The so-called school improvement grants are aimed at assisting school districts that demonstrate the greatest need for the funds, as well as a commitment to raise student achievement.

Duncan said the funding represents a "tremendous opportunity" for persistently struggling schools to provide a better education for their students.

Virginia is among six states and the District of Columbia that are receiving grants. The grants total $38 million.